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Michigan school shooter’s father on trial: Jury begins deliberation

A jury left a Michigan courtroom Wednesday afternoon to begin deliberations to determine if James Crumbley, the father of a school shooter, is guilty of involuntary manslaughter after he allegedly failed to safely secure the gun his son used.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald urged the 12-member jury to convict Crumbley in her closing remarks, arguing that he ignored “glaring opportunities” to prevent his son from killing four students at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

In addition to being charged with involuntary manslaughter, Crumbley, 47, has been accused of failing to safely secure the gun his son Ethan used and not seeking help for the mental distress his son was in.

Crumbley and his wife, Jennifer, held a meeting with the school to address a concerning drawing Ethan had made on a math assignment. Instead of taking him home, the parents left the school and made DoorDash runs while the shooting occurred, McDonald said.

When the news of the shooting began to spread, Crumbley frantically called 911 and said the gun he had purchased four days prior was missing and said he thought his son could be the shooter, the AP reported.

“There were 1,800 students at Oxford High School,” McDonald said. “There was one parent who suspected their son was a school shooter, and it was James Crumbley. You know what that’s called? That’s called foreseeability.”

Investigators said that a cable to lock the Sig Sauer 9 millimeter handgun was still in its packaging. In early November 2021, Ethan Crumbley wrote in his journal that he needed mental health help, but his parent’s “don’t listen to me so I can’t get any help.”

Previous court filings depicted a turbulent household, where Ethan Crumbley was often left to himself while his parents allegedly drank or fought.

Jurors learned Ethan Crumbley had told a friend he was experiencing insomnia and paranoia. He told his father about it, who “gave me some pills and told me to ‘Suck it up,’” NBC News reported Ethan Crumbley saying.

Defense attorney Mariell Lehman said Crumbley didn’t know his son knew where to find the gun. She noted that school staff didn’t think the teen was an immediate threat to others.

A jury found Jennifer Crumbley guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter in February. In December, Ethan Crumbley, now 17, was sentenced to multiple life sentences without parole.

The Crumbleys are the first parents in the U.S. to be charged with having criminal responsibility for a mass school shooting, the AP reported.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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