Michigan Appeals Court Weighs Charging Parents of School Shooter With Manslaughter
In November 2021, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley killed four fellow students at his Michigan high school with a gun his father bought him as an early Christmas present. Prosecutors charged Crumbley with murder, assault, and terrorism, to which he pleaded guilty.
Prosecutors also charged his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. This week, Michigan’s Third District Court of Appeals heard arguments on whether the Crumbleys can be charged for their son’s actions.
Prosecutors say that the school warned the Crumbleys about their son’s behavior. The day before the shooting, a teacher noticed Ethan searching for ammunition on his cell phone and notified his mother, who later texted him, “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
The next day, the Crumbleys were called to the school just hours before the shooting. A teacher spotted a note on Crumbley’s desk featuring a drawing of a pistol and the words, “the thoughts won’t stop, help me.” It also featured a bullet, a gunshot victim, and the words “blood everywhere.” Crumbley told school officials the drawings were for a video game he was designing.
The school asked Crumbley’s parents to take him home for the day, but they refused, and he returned to class. Neither his parents nor the school knew Crumbley had brought the pistol from home in his backpack. Ethan later attested the gun was not locked up on the day of the shooting.
In this week’s hearing, Judge Christopher Yates said there were “warning signs all over the place” regarding Crumbley’s conduct. Mariell Lehman, an attorney for James Crumbley, contended that he “had no knowledge” of what his son was planning, prompting Judge Michael Riordan to interject, “He was called over to the school that day, wasn’t he?… He had knowledge then.” When Lehman countered that her client only had knowledge “that there was a drawing,” not that his son had violent plans, Riordan asked, “It’s certainly a warning signal, wouldn’t you say?”
The Crumbleys clearly missed some signs about their
Article from Reason.com