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James Crumbley’s Trial Begins After Court Declared Wife Guilty in Son’s School Shooting

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Jennifer Crumbley, and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, appear in court
Source: Pinterest

Raising kids is no easy task and should not be treated with levity. Just ask the Crumbley couple, who may eventually end up behind bars because they neglected their duties as parents. 

They ignored their son, Ethan Crumbley’s SOS signals and were not sensitive to what was going on with him. In time, his mental health kept deteriorating until he decided to do something about it. 

In November 2021, he did, stealing his father’s gun and using it to fatally shoot four students from his school. It’s been years now, but the manslaughter trial for James Crumbley, Ethan’s father, is just beginning. It began with Tuesday’s jury selection.

James Crumbley is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, one for each of the four students who lost their lives to a 15-year-old Ethan. His trial comes just weeks after a court found his wife, Jennifer Crumbley, guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter for her role in the shooting. Her sentencing comes up on April 9.

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The two parents were to face trial together initially. But a judge separated the cases in November. Ethan Crumbley is looking at life in prison without parole over the shooting. He pleaded guilty to 24 charges, including first-degree premeditated murder and terrorism causing death, in October 2022.

James Crumbley’s attorneys filed a motion to move his trial. Their argument was that pretrial media coverage would seriously affect the court’s ability to find an impartial jury, especially after his wife’s guilty conviction. However, that request was denied. 

Even worse, a judge last week let his son’s journals and text messages play a role in the trial. They did not favor Jennifer Crumbley’s trial. The trials are a rare case of parents facing charges over a shooting their child is guilty of.

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During her trial, Jennifer Crumbley claimed that securing the gun used in the shooting was James Crumbley’s responsibility. Her attorney also argued that she did not know guns well.

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The shooter’s parents got him the murder weapon in the shooting as a gift. They also took him to a shooting range before the attack. During Jennifer Crumbley’s trial, prosecutors argued that the parents did not secure the gun or limit their son’s access to it. 

The safe that holds the family’s guns had a combination lock of 0-0-0, which is the factory preset, according to prosecutors. During Jennifer Crumbley’s trial, prosecutors highlighted a video that saw Ethan holding one of James Crumbley’s firearms. 

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The video was sent from the shooter’s phone to one of his friends. After sending the video, he sent a message that reads, “My dad left it out, so I thought, ‘Why not?’ lol.”

Extensive testimony during his wife’s trial also highlighted a meeting between Jennifer and James Crumbley with school officials hours before the shooting. A teacher had reached out to them after finding violent drawings by Ethan on a class assignment. However, his parents did not take him home that day. 

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Jennifer Crumbley took the stand in her own defense during her trial, but it’s not clear whether her husband will do the same. The subject of her extra-marital affairs also came up during her trial. Apparently, she was having multiple affairs with other men at the time of the shooting. 

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