Jennifer Crumbley’s landmark school shooting trial concluded dramatically on Friday, with both sides presenting impassioned arguments. One camp asserted that the prosecution, in its quest to assign blame for the Oxford school shooting, conducted a “witch hunt” against an innocent mother. Conversely, the opposing side accused the mother of negligence and selfishness, contending that she failed to take even the “smallest” actions that could have potentially saved the lives of four children slain by her son.
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews adjourned the proceedings after the closing statements, with jurors scheduled to commence deliberations on Monday.
During closing arguments, the prosecutor leveraged Crumbley’s own testimony against her, reminding the jury of her statement: “She said she wouldn’t do one thing different.” Crumbley’s words from Thursday resurfaced, where she expressed, “I wish he would have killed us instead.”
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, who made history over two years ago by unveiling unprecedented charges against the parents of the Oxford school shooter, delivered the final address to the jurors on Friday. She bears the weight of demonstrating that four lives were lost due to alleged gross negligence by Crumbley.
Jennifer Crumbley, the first parent in the United States to face conviction in a mass school shooting, stands accused of involuntary manslaughter for purchasing the gun used in the 2021 massacre by her son and failing to disclose it to school authorities when given the opportunity. Her husband, James, faces similar charges and is set to stand trial in March. Their son, Ethan Crumbley, pleaded guilty and received a life sentence without parole.
A pivotal aspect of the parents’ case revolves around reasonable foreseeability, a criterion that the prosecution must establish. The defense argues that this is a hurdle the prosecution cannot overcome, contending that there is no evidence indicating that Crumbley could have reasonably anticipated her son’s actions.
“No one expected this,” asserted defense attorney Shannon Smith. “No one could have expected this, including Mrs. Crumbley.”
Smith emphasized the testimony of Assistant Principal Kristy Gibson-Marshall, who encountered the shooter in a hallway during the rampage. Gibson-Marshall’s testimony highlighted her disbelief, stating, “I asked if he was OK. It just didn’t seem right that it would be him … I didn’t think it was possible that he was the shooter.”