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Parents of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley must face trial, appeals court rules


The parents of a Michigan teenager who fatally shot four of his classmates in 2021 should stand trial, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of Ethan Crumbley, face four counts of manslaughter for their inaction before their son’s deadly attack at their Detroit-area high school.

The Crumbleys tried to have the charges dismissed, but the Michigan Court of Appeals sided with the prosecutors.

The parents “were actively involved in (Ethan’s) mental state remaining untreated…provided him with the weapon used to kill the victims and…refused to remove him from the situation that led directly to the shootings,” three judges wrote in appeals in your decision.

Ethan, then 15, killed four classmates at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021, in Oxford, a northern Detroit suburb. He also injured six other students and a teacher in the attack. In October 2022, he pleaded guilty to 24 counts, including one count of terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder.

Before the shooting, Ethan wrote about his mental health problems in a journal, including a disturbing entry that read in part, “I have no help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot at school.”

FILE - Commemorative items are displayed on the Oxford High School sign in Oxford, Michigan, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.

Despite learning of Ethan’s fragile state of mind, the Crumbleys bought Ethan a gun on Nov. 26, 2021, the appeals judges wrote. James signed for the gun, while Jennifer took him to a shooting range the next day.

On the day of the shooting, Crumbley’s parents were summoned to a meeting with school administrators after Ethan wrote, “Thoughts won’t stop helping me” and drew a gun on a worksheet, according to prosecutors. Unbeknownst to his parents, Ethan had brought his new gun to school that day. Despite warning signs, he was not removed from the school. Minutes later he opened fire.

“Our decision is based solely on the evidence on the record,” the judges wrote, “and the actions and omissions of the defendants despite exceptionally troubling facts of which they were fully aware.”

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