Parents of Oxford school shooter may face manslaughter trial

DETROIT (AP) — The parents of a teenager who killed four students at a Michigan high school can face trial for manslaughter, the state appeals court ruled Thursday in a groundbreaking criminal responsibility case for the acts of a child.

The murders wouldn’t have happened if the parents hadn’t bought Ethan Crumbley a gun or brought him home from Oxford High School on the day of the shooting, when staff became alarmed at his extreme designs, the appeals court said.

The court noted that the legal threshold at this point in the case is quite low under Michigan law.

‘Whether a jury actually finds that causation has been proven after a full trial, where the record will almost surely be larger – including the evidence adduced by the defendants – is a separate matter from what we decide today’ today,” the court said in a 3-0 opinion.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are accused of not getting a gun and ignoring their son’s mental health needs before the shooting. In addition to the death of four students, seven people were injured.

LEARN MORE: States seek to remove legal protections for gun industry amid mass shootings

Crumbley, 16, pleaded guilty to terrorism and murder and could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was 15 at the time of the November 2021 shooting.

The parents’ lawyers insist that what would happen that day was not predictable. They acknowledge that bad decisions were made, but not the ones that should lead to manslaughter charges.

Judge Michael Riordan said parents should not be taken to court for “substandard, odd or eccentric” care of their children. But the evidence against the Crumbleys, he added, is much more serious.

“On the morning of the shooting, EC drew a picture of a body that appeared to have two bullet holes in its torso, apparently with blood flowing from them, which was near another drawing of a handgun that looked like the gun his parents…had very recently been gifted to him,” Riordan said.

It was “visual evidence” that Ethan was considering gunshot wounds on someone, the judge said.

The Crumbleys were called to school for a drawing meeting, but did not bring Ethan home.

Attorneys for the parents declined to comment Thursday, citing a gag order. They will likely ask the Michigan Supreme Court to reconsider the case, particularly because that court ordered the appeals court to hear arguments.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.


"Writer. Coffee practitioner. Twitter specialist. Food trailblazer. Subtly charming analyst. Troublemaker. Unable to type with boxing gloves on."
Back to top button