National News

James Crumbley convicted of involuntary manslaughter over son’s school shooting

todayMarch 15, 2024


James Crumbley, father of Ethan Crumbley, waits for the jury to enter the courtroom after they reached a verdict, on March 14, 2023, in Oxford, Michigan. — Pool via ABC News

(OXFORD, Mich.) — A jury has convicted James Crumbley of involuntary manslaughter over his role in his son’s 2021 school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan.

Jurors reached the verdict Thursday evening after deliberating over two days. He was found guilty on all four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

His son, Ethan Crumbley, opened fire at the Oxford High School in November 2021, killing four of his classmates — Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17 — and injuring seven others.

James Crumbley’s conviction comes weeks after his wife, Jennifer Crumbley, was also found guilty of the same four charges over her role in the shooting.

Both are scheduled to be sentenced on April 9.

Mariell Lehman, attorney for James Crumbley, released a statement Thursday night following the guilty verdict.

“We have maintained since November 30, 2021, that James did not know that his son could or would harm anyone or that he had obtained the means to do so. James feels terrible about what happened that day to Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, Justin Shilling, and the many others affected. We are obviously disappointed with the outcome and also understand that the jury had a very difficult task in front of them,” Lehman’s statement read.

During the father’s trial, prosecutors argued that James Crumbley could have prevented the shooting by securing the gun used in the attack and preventing his son’s access to it. He is also accused of failing to get his son help after he displayed warning signs, including violent drawings that were found on a math test the morning of the shooting.

James Crumbley chose not to testify in his trial with the defense resting after only calling one witness Wednesday. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December after he pleaded guilty to 24 charges, including first-degree premeditated murder and terrorism resulting in death.

His parents had bought him the gun he used in the shooting as a gift and had taken him to the shooting range before the attack, according to prosecutors.

The Crumbleys represent a rare case of parents being charged in connection with a shooting carried out by their child.

After the verdict, the prosecutor in the case said it represented “accountability.”

“This verdict does not bring back their children, but it does mark a moment of accountability and will hopefully be another step to address and end and prevent gun violence,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, whose office prosecuted the case, said at a press briefing Thursday night. “There were egregious facts in this case. These parents could have prevented this tragedy, it was foreseeable, with just the smallest of efforts.”

McDonald was joined by the parents of several victims, who called for more measures to be taken to prevent gun violence.

“These are just the beginning steps. There is so much more that absolutely must be done,” Steve St. Juliana, the father of Hana, said. “I think people just need to wake up and take action.”

“We do not want any other parents to go through what we have gone through, it’s as simple as that,” he added.

Nicole Beausoleil, the mother of Madisyn, said that the guilty verdict is “not just a verdict for attention or media.”

“We have to execute that verdict. We have to plan for change, we have to reinforce it,” she said.

A gag order issued in the case has now been lifted following the verdict in James Crumbley’s trial.

Jennifer Crumbley’s attorney, Shannon Smith, said she and her client will not be discussing the case at this time.

“We believe the victims, their families, and the community need and deserve the space and time to begin healing from this tragedy,” Smith said in a statement Thursday.

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