Arguments in Jennifer Crumbley trial reach their conclusion Friday

The final day of Jennifer Crumbley's trial was Friday, where the prosecution cross-examined the defendant. After that, closing arguments were made to the jury, where both prosecutor Karen McDonald and defense attorney Shannon Smith made their case. 

The day was full of impassioned speeches following a dramatic week of testimony from witnesses. You can read about the day's biggest moments below.

4:21 p.m. - Defense finishes statement + Prosecution gives rebuttal

The prosecution rebuked what the defense said before asking the jury to find Jennifer Crumbley guilty of involuntary manslaughter. 

4:12 p.m. - Prosecutor's charging decision was ‘too fast’

Smith landed back on the first argument she made in her opening statement: charging the parents wasn't about punishing a negligent couple, but creating a media circus and making the community feel better.

"I would submit that the plan was never to let the criminals turn themselves in, but to turn them into a big charade of looking like they're trying to flee when they absolutely weren't," she said.

Brian Meloche, the witness identified as Jennifer Crumbley's friend and lover, called the investigation a witch hunt, Smith said. She agreed. 

4 p.m. - Defense addresses final texts

Smith brought up the last bit of evidence that was entered into the trial: the texts between her and the defendant. She poured cold water on the prosecution's arguments that they were planning on running by citing her own messages discussing bond. 

The Crumbleys didn't go into a police station to turn themselves in because they feared for their lives, she argued. 

"They were terrified. They wanted to go in through a lawyer," Smith said.

3:45 p.m. - Jennifer "was a hyper-vigilant mother"

Jennifer Crumbley was a vigilant mom, Smith argued. Citing one witnesses' experience during the shooting who testified they couldn't believe who it was. "And the reason she couldn't believe it was him is because it was so unforeseeable," she said.

"She's the kind of mother who is going to the friend's mom, to chase down why she's having a moody and kind of depressed day," she said. She checks in on her son's grades and on missing assignments. 

How Jennifer Crumbley spends her time and how much she drinks doesn't make her a bad mom, Smith said. In fact, she argued, she went to the shooting range to bond with her son - not because she likes shooting. 

Smith brought up the Facebook photos posted online of the family and the dental care that Jennifer Crumbley provided to her son. 

3:15 p.m. - Defense: Shooter was a master manipulator

The parents "didn't realize" their son was a "skilled manipulator," Smith argued. He wasn't sick, she told the jury and didn't have a mental illness. "He's had no history of hallucinations. He has never shown his parents signs of mental illness. He certainly never showed signs of mental illness wanting to get a gun," she said.

The Crumbley's wouldn't have purchased a weapon for their son if they believed he had a mental illness, she said. Instead, they had two guns in the house where nothing happened for months. 

2:59 p.m. - ‘A single reasonable doubt’

Smith argued there were many facts that were in dispute throughout the case. She argued the evidence that was admitted was meant to inflame the jury's passions and degrade Jennifer Crumbley. And for what the prosecution did admit, she argued, "They have very little context for the very little evidence they have submitted."

"So the first place the defense finds reasonable doubt is in the fact that the prosecution is so desperate to prosecute this case that they admitted a mountain of evidence that, quite frankly, was unnecessary," she argued.

Smith drew parallels between her own family and Jennifer Crumbley's parenting. Text messages go unanswered, calls aren't picked up, and kids say things they don't mean.

Smith also pointed the jury toward the holes in the prosecution's evidence. "They don't have the evidence," she tells the jury, 

"This family played together. They had fun. They did what families do. The prosecution just had zero context because they had tunnel vision that she was doing something wrong and was grossly negligent and they were hellbent and convincing you that was the case."

2:43 p.m. - Defense begins closing statement

"No one expected this," Shannon Smith, Jennifer Crumbley's attorney argued at the beginning of her closing statement. "If you have just one reasonable doubt about the case, you must vote ‘not guilty’.

Smith laid out what the burden of proof is in a criminal case. It's the highest burden anyone must meet to send someone to prison. But for the prosecution to do that, Smith told the jury, the state's attorneys cherry-picked facts in "bits and pieces."

She unveiled her argument by starting with what real life looks like. It's "messy and complicated." She added that she is only human "and so is Mrs. Crumbley and that's what this case is about."

2:35 p.m. - Prosecution ends statement

2:14 p.m. - What the school didn't know

The prosecution also focused on all the relevant information that Jennifer Crumbley had that school officials weren't aware of during their meeting with the counselor. That includes his disturbing texts, them giving him medication to calm him down, 

"She knew her son had been gifted a gun," McDonald told the jury. "She could have locked the gun. She could have taken him home. She could have taken him to work. He could have gone with dad. He was DoorDashing. She could have told the school that they just kept it in the back. She could have embraced her son."

The school assignment also made another appearance, which McDonald pointed to as evidence of "reasonable foreseeability" because of the drawings of the gun, the disturbing phrases written on them, and the person that had blood pouring out of them.

"The smallest thing. Just the smallest thing have saved Hana and Tate and Justin and Madisyn. The smallest of things," she said.

McDonald closed her argument saying that charging the parent of a mass shooting case is unusual. "It's a rare case to take some really egregious facts. It takes the unthinkable. And she has done the unthinkable. And because of that, four kids have died."

1:54 p.m. - Consciousness of guilt

Whether the Crumbleys considered fleeing from the state was a matter of speculation at the end of the trial. 

McDonald said the jury is allowed to consider whether James and Jennifer Crumbley' "consciousness of guilt" when they make their ruling. It's not an element of the crime and she said she didn't have to prove that they fled. 

"The reason we introduced this evidence is she's (the judge) going to instruct you - instruct you that you can use that as a sign of consciousness of guilt. What do you do if you know you've done something wrong?" she said.

Prosecution's breakdown of what Jennifer Crumbley knew about her son. 

She then brought up two messages she sent to Brian Meloche: "On the run again" and "We're F*cked." Both messages were deleted from Jennifer Crumbley's phone. 

They were also found with thousands of dollars they had withdrawn from other bank accounts the day before and day of their arrest. 

1:42 p.m. - "It was hidden"

McDonald hammered Jennifer Crumbley on her statement to police directly after the shooting when asked where was the gun before her son obtained, she responded "It was hidden."

"You're at the police station. Your son's in the next room. You know the murder weapon was the weapon you just purchased for him. And when you're asked where it was, you say it was hidden," she said.

In the minutes and hours after the shooting, McDonald said Jennifer Crumbley was more concerned with being judged by her boss. 

The box the firearm was kept in was found on the defendant's bed and a box that had the bullets was empty next to it. She's argued Jennifer Crumbley's statements don't add up when she described where it was kept. 

A cable lock that came with the murder weapon and was still in its packaging was also found in the case. 

"The story, one of the stories that is told by Jennifer Crumbley is he must have come in there when they were sleeping because she was in that bed all night long and they left after her," she argued. "Except that the ammunition was in the box, taking it out and leaving the box while your parents are sleeping. 

"Doesn't make a lot of sense and it doesn't make a lot of sense that this was taken and the weapon was taken out of this case with no one hearing while they were sleeping."

Karen McDonald delivers her closing argument. 

1:10 p.m. - Closing arguments begin

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald is giving the state's closing argument. She began by stating the duty of her job and the duty of the jurors. When saying her team presented evidence that she believes reveals Jennifer Crumbley is guilty, she told the jury "I believe we've done that."

She posed the task at hand for the jury as a job of considering two theories: that the defendant was grossly negligent in the performance of a lawful act or the defendant was grossly negligent while failing to perform a legal duty. 

The two theories that the prosecution says the jury is tasked with considering as they weigh Jennifer Crumbley's innocence.

McDonald then went through the witnesses that testified during the trial, beginning with school officials that interacted with the shooter to the individual that sold the firearms to the Crumbley family, as well as law enforcement.  

"We all saw it. We actually saw the last day he was practicing to kill four of his classmates and there was only one person with him, ladies and gentlemen. And her name is Jennifer Crumbley," McDonald told the jury.

After talking about the purchase of the firearm, she then moved to Jennifer's actions as a parent when her son was struggling with anxiety and loneliness. She then transitioned to the fateful meeting between the two parents, their son, and the school counselor and dean of students. 

"Jennifer Crumbley didn't engage with her son at all," she said. "That meeting ended with ‘are we done here?'" 

11:10 a.m. Judge calls short break, dismisses jury

After dismissing the jury, the defenses rested its case. 

10:58 a.m. - Messages between defendant and counsel

The prosecution asked about texts between her attorney and the Crumbleys the night they were arrested. They include a message from Jennifer Crumbley's phone "we might have been found."

Jennifer testified that James Crumbley was using her phone during those messages and she was using a third phone. She testified she was "absolutely sure" she was asleep by the time the police busted into the art studio.

10:51 a.m. - Recorded phone calls

The prosecution played phone calls between Jennifer Crumbley and her dad. In one, they're talking about a GoFundMe account for her horses and in another she's asking about calories in a baloney sandwich. 

The prosecution was asking about Jennifer Crumbley talking about being in "planning mode" before she was arrested. In another phone call played after she was taken into custody, she was asking her dad for help filing her taxes - and at one point asked about a child tax credit.  

10:40 a.m. - ‘You didn’t trust James with much'

The prosecution pointed questions towards the family's ownership of firearms. Jennifer Crumbley said her husband was responsible for securing the weapon.  

"It's pretty clear you didn't trust James with much," Keast asked Jennifer Crumbley, citing text messages between the two and the defendant's messages toward her husband. "But this is the person you entrusted with a deadly weapon?"

10:34 a.m. - Prosecution questions shooter's friendships and hobbies

The shooter's friend had been driven to Wisconsin a day before the shooter was supposed to hang out with him. 

Jennifer Crumbely testified that she and her husband still went to two parties on Halloween without their son. The shooter was left at home. The prosecution is also prying into how involved the shooter was with his hobbies, like bowling and designing video games. 

The shooter did have a fascination with weapons and the prosecution asked if Jennifer was aware of the conversations between the shooter and his dad about getting a gun. She said she wasn't part of those conversations and didn't know when they would go and buy a gun.

"It was James' responsibility," she previously testified. 

10:16 a.m. - Cross-examination of Jennifer Crumbley begins

Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast is cross-examining Jennifer Crumbley, who answered questions from her attorney on Thursday. He said his first round of questions would be about her "vigilance as a parent."

The first questions that Keast is asking Jennifer Crumbley is about her affairs and the "time and energy and focus" she spent on arranging those meet-ups. She said it didn't take "too much time or energy" to do it.

His next questions he asked was about the purchase of the gun, asking her if she described it as a gift. She asked for him to define that and he brought up her Instagram post about her son's new "Christmas gift." She described it as something only to be used at the shooting range.  

She testified she never once took him to therapy and was never told about her son's suicide ideations. 

The math assignment was the first exhibit shown to Jennifer Crumbley, who testified she was angry when she saw the modified drawing then saw the original and said "it was concerning." She testified she thought the man on the assignment was a poor drawing of Batman. 

She didn't say she thought much besides "it was a gun" after seeing the firearm. 

10:07 a.m. - Judge admits texts between defendant and attorney

9:32 a.m. - Judge returns + will review question of privilege

Judge Cheryl Matthews said waiving the defendant's privilege would set a dangerous precedent, but also said the prosecution's interest is very limited to 23 text messages between the attorney and her defendant. 

Matthews said she would need to review the messages before allowing the prosecution to talk about them. Those questions would be "limited to the issue of flight, not anything else," the judge said. 

The prosecution is interested in questioning Jennifer Crumbley about whether she had plans to flee from law enforcement after charges were announced. It's already on record that the Crumbley parents were aware they were going to be charged. 

9:16 a.m. - Judge calls brief recess

9 a.m. - Jennifer Crumbley returns to court

Both legal teams are discussing concerns of attorney-client privilege after Jennifer Crumbley testified yesterday she was in touch with her attorney and taking advice from her about when to turn herself in.

For much of the case and throughout the hearings, Crumbley's attorney was considered a potential witness, which led to the court issuing a waiver. The prosecution is arguing, since she testified on Thursday about the final moments before her arrest, that privilege is no longer valid. 

Jennifer Crumbley in the courtroom. 

The defense attorney asked that her client's statement be struck from the record - a request the judge denied. 

Jennifer Crumbley's Trial: the latest

Jennifer, who is on trial for involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the shooting on Nov. 30, 2021, was called to the stand by her attorney Thursday afternoon.

During her testimony, Jennifer spoke about home life and her relationship with her son, the Oxford High School shooter. She also repeatedly asserted that she did not think her son had mental health problems.

Jennifer testified that her son sometimes expressed anxiety or fear about his future because his grades weren't great. Beyond that, she didn't think there were any concerns.


Jennifer Crumbley testifies that son thought house was haunted, says she wasn't worried about demon texts

Text messages from Jennifer Crumbley's son about demons didn't alarm her then and still do not lead her to believe he was struggling with his mental health. Jennifer testified about the messages during her trial stemming from the Oxford High School shooting.

Part of her testimony included addressing text messages that her son sent her earlier in 2021. Those texts have previously been shown in court as evidence that he exhibited signs of mental health struggles to his mother.

Jennifer's attorney first questioned her about messages the shooter sent to her on March 17, 2021, while she was away from home riding her horse. Within a half-hour period that evening, he texted his mother telling her the house was haunted.

Jennifer Crumbley looking at evidence while on the stand on Feb. 1, 2024.

In those messages, he said he took a photo of a demon and that it was throwing bowls. Jennifer did not reply. When asked if she thought these messages were indicative of a mental health issue, she said no; she thought he was just messing with her.

Jennifer testified that her son had thought the family's home was haunted since 2015 because it was built in the 1920s. 

When questioned about other similar messages, she repeatedly said she thought he was just messing with her.

She also testified about the meeting she had with a school counselor on the morning of the shooting, providing her own version of what happened.

"He told us that he didn't feel my son was a risk and actually gave him the option if he wanted to stay at school or go home," she said. "My son wanted to stay at school."

"He said being around peers usually helps so we all agreed to that. My son gets very stressed out and he does virtual school. So we agreed that it might stress him out more to do his school remotely the rest of the day. But there was never a time where I would refuse to take him home. I could easily, if he wanted to go, take him with me. I had no issues with that."

What is Jennifer Crumbley charged with?

Jennifer Crumbley is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count for each student killed by her son at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021. 

Her husband, James Crumbley, is also facing the same charges and is expected to go to trial after Jennifer's trial is complete.

What did Jennifer Crumbley do?

The prosecution argues that Jennifer and James ignored their son's mental health and even bought him a gun before the Oxford High School shooting. 

Jennifer's attorney maintains that her client knew nothing about guns and was not involved in purchasing the weapon. Receipts provided in court show that James bought the gun, and the shooter admitted during his plea hearing that he gave James money to buy the firearm. Video from a gun range showed Jennifer shooting a gun with her son, but her lawyer claims she didn't know what she was doing.

Journal entries detailing the shooter's mental state have been presented in court, but Jennifer's defense argues that there is no evidence Jennifer knew about this writing.

Witnesses called by the prosecution during the trial have also described a meeting between the Crumbley parents and school officials the morning of the shooting. The parents were called after violent drawings were discovered on their son's schoolwork. 

During this meeting, a school counselor told the parents to get their son mental health help as soon as possible and recommended that they take him home from school. However, the parents chose not to take him home.

Jennifer Crumbley's trial so far

Read recaps of each day of testimony below:

Day 1: Oxford teacher, assistant principal testify

Day 2: Messages between shooter, parents shown

Day 3: Parents' first police interview shown

Day 4: Ex-Oxford High School dean questioned, Crumbley's colleagues testify 

Day 5: Extramarital affair revealed, arrest video shown

Day 6: Jennifer Crumbley takes the stand

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