Jennifer Crumbley, currently on trial for her role in failing to prevent her son from carrying out a deadly school shooting, has taken the stand in her own defense, seeking to shift the blame onto her husband.
The case marks the first instance of a parent facing trial for a mass shooting perpetrated by their child. Jennifer’s husband, James Crumbley, is separately facing the same charges. The couple could each be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Their son, who was 15 at the time of the attack, is already serving a life sentence for killing four classmates at Oxford High School in Michigan in 2021.
On the sixth day of the trial, Jennifer Crumbley testified that the handgun purchased for their son was her husband’s responsibility, claiming she did not feel comfortable being in charge of storing the weapon safely.
Mrs. Crumbley recounted that her husband bought the gun for their son as a gift the day after Thanksgiving, and she left the responsibility of using a cable lock to secure the firearm to him. She explained, “It was more his thing, so I let him handle that. I didn’t feel comfortable putting the lock thing on it. I’d just rather not, and let him do it.”
She revealed that her husband later removed the lock so that she could take her son to a gun range, describing it as a fun day. Mrs. Crumbley stated that the key to the lock was kept in a beer stein in the kitchen, and her husband hid the gun in their bedroom. She claimed she had no knowledge of where her son knew the firearm was stored.
During her son’s trial, his attorneys argued that he was neglected by his parents and suffered from mental illness. However, he later admitted that his parents were unaware of his plans, and he took sole responsibility for his actions. Mrs. Crumbley’s legal team contends that she could not have foreseen her son’s actions and is unfairly shouldering the blame.
Earlier in the day, prosecutors presented text messages and diary entries from the son indicating he was experiencing hallucinations.
Mrs. Crumbley dismissed many of these messages as her son “messing around” and shared her belief that he thought their house had been haunted since 2015, even giving the supposed ghost the name “Boris Johnson.”
Prosecutors argue that the parents failed to provide the necessary mental health support their child needed. Prosecutor Marc Keast asserted, “Jennifer Crumbley didn’t pull the trigger that day, but she is responsible for those deaths.”
On the day of the shooting, school officials discovered disturbing drawings in the boy’s possession and called his parents for a meeting. The Crumbleys left the meeting prematurely, stating they needed to return to work, and did not check the boy’s backpack where the gun was stored. He was subsequently sent back to class without further inspection.