Trial begins for parents and perpetrator of Oxford High School shooting

On February 24, James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, were ordered to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter charges in connection to the Oxford High School shooting. 

Oxford High School reopened nearly two months after the deadly attack.

Fifteen-year-old Ethan Crumbley entered his high school on November 30 and unleashed a deadly rampage using a gun his parents bought him as a Christmas gift. Crumbley shot and killed four fellow students and wounded seven others, including one teacher. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and will be tried as an adult, according to CNN. Since the parents gifted him the weapon, this adds to the complicated nature of the case, asking if parents should be held responsible for the actions of their child and if gun owners are to be held responsible if someone else uses their weapon for murder.

In addition to giving him the weapon, the trial has focused heavily on how Ethan Crumbley’s parents neglected their son’s mental health problems and disregarded his harmful thoughts and statements. Ethan Crumbley for the past year or so had believed their house was haunted, according to NBC News, and had made disturbing statements to both teachers and other staff members, including on the day of the shooting. His parents were called to the school to discuss his disturbing statements and to get him counseling, but he was never taken home after it was offered to send him home. Witnesses also have made statements saying that his mother knew he was struggling and that he didn’t have many friends. Ethan Crumbley’s defense plans to make these facts a key point in their argument in defense of the 15-year-old. However, his parents insist they had no reason to believe their son would commit this shooting.

Evidence from the investigation also continues to be made public, including a journal Ethan Crumbley kept. One part of his journal discussed in detail the plans he had to commit the shooting, and he had in-depth writings of his mental health issues, according to The Detroit News. The prosecution has also ordered that Crumbley remains in an adult jail, saying he is mature enough, according to CNN.

Although the judicial process is still very much ongoing and evidence is still being gathered, the new developments continue to bring to light more answers as to how this terrible tragedy was able to occur. The case is Michigan’s largest school shooting, and this tragic event continues to impact so many lives.

Claire Dwyer ('24) is a current Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Anchor. Joining as a News Writer fall of a freshman year, she has enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the campus community through journalism!

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