Jennifer Crumbley Says She Wouldn't Have Done Anything Differently As a Parent

February 01, 2024, 6:45 PM by  Allan Lengel

Jennifer Crumbley (Photo: Screen Shot from Freep Video)

Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, took the stand Thursday to defend herself as a parent and try to covince an Oakland County jury that she'd done nothing criminally wrong to warrant four charges of involuntary manslaugter. 

"I don't feel that I'm a failure as a parent," she told jurors, later saying "I wouldn't have" done anything differently as a mother.

But she said shehad one big regret: "Absolutely, I wish he would have killed us instead."

Crumbley and her husband James Crumbley have been locked up in the Oakland County Jail since shortly after the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting at the high school that killed four students and wounded six others and a teacher. Each parent faces four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Their son Ethan, who was 15 at the time, is serving a life sentence without parole.

Prosecutor's presented writing from her son's journal, including: 

“I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the fucking school. ... I want help but my parents don’t listen to me and I can’t get any help. … My parents won’t listen to me about help or therapists.”

She denied her son ever sought pyschiatric help. She said she knew he suffered from anxiety, but much of that was over his future and college; nothing seriuous enough to seek help.

She said she dismissed his concerns that demons were in the house, concluding he was just "messing around."

In her effort to try and convey that she was good parent, she said she saw her role as a protector to help shield her son from the dangers of the world. She said she never thought she'd have to protect her child from harming others.

She said she spoke to her son about various things, but he didn't always open up.

Prosecutors have accused the Crumbley parents of ignoring their son's cries for help and buying him a gun rather than helping him get professional mental health help.

James Crumbley is scheduled to go to trial in March with another jury. That means, one could potentially be found guilty by one jury and not guilty by the other. 

Putting a defendant on the stand can be risky. Crumbley returns to the stand Friday, and prosecutors will get their shot at cross examining her and trying to punch holes in her defense. 

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