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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Schafer

Crumbleys charged: What does this mean?

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

The parents of the teen suspected to be responsible for the shooting at Oxford High School have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Jennifer and James Crumbley have pleaded not guilty to the charges after an eventful arraignment. Their son, Ethan Crumbley, is to be tried as an adult for first-degree murder, terrorism, as well as other charges.

These charges have come as more disturbing details of the days leading up to the shooting, including a text between Mrs. Crumbley and her son after he was caught searching online for ammunition that read “LOL I’m not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught,” sent the day before the shooting.

The reveal of these details have caused many to ask “what if” as the 15 year old Ethan Crumbley made it explicitly clear through social media and confiscated drawings that he intended to commit a shooting on that exact day.

A note found on Ethan Crumbley’s desk on the day of the shooting depicted a semiautomatic handgun seemingly pointed at the words ``The thoughts won’t stop, help me.” The note contained more alarming messages such as: blood everywhere, my life is useless, and the world is dead.

james and Jennifer Crumbley were both called to the school to discuss their son’s mental health and were told that he had to be put into counseling within the next 48 hours. They refused the offer to take their son home, and the shooting would occur just hours later.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald called the details egregious during a news conference, where she also announced the charges.

“Any individual who had the opportunity to stop this tragedy should have done so,” McDonald stated. “The question is, what did they know and when did they know it?”

Even so, the charges laid against the Crumbley’s are unprecedented. Never before in this country's history of school shootings have the parents been charged with the crimes of their child.

The case that many experts have drawn parallels to a case in February of 2000 where a six year old boy fatally shot a classmate.

The boy allegedly brought a .32 caliber semiautomatic pistol and a knife to school and recalled his uncle, Jamelle James, playing with the gun by twirling it in his hands. James pleaded no contest to an involuntary manslaughter charge and served two years and five months before being released on probation.

However, the boy wasn’t charged because it was found that six year olds cannot form criminal intent; Ethan Crumbley on the other hand can.

It’s hard to tell how this case will pan out, but experts say that it is necessary to prove that the parents were criminally negligent and absolutely contributed to the deaths of the four victims.

"It’s been a devastating week for us,” Mcdonald declared. “There are other individuals who contributed… and it’s my intention to hold them accountable as well.”


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