OXFORD, Mich. (FOX 2) - A case filing reveals more details that the prosecution says prove Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley's parents were negligent ahead of the crime.
Since the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting, prosecutors have claimed James and Jennifer Crumbley were grossly negligent. They are accused of buying Ethan the gun used in the school shooting just days before.
James and Jennifer Crumbley
Messages about mental state
Previously, the prosecution shared messages between Jennifer and Ethan, as well as between Jennifer and James, that shows Ethan had discussed his mental state with his parents, and they were concerned about it at least eight months before the shooting.
The new court filing dives deeper into that accusation, with more messages between Jennifer and James showing they discussed Ethan's mental state in March 2021.
In an exchange on March 8, 2021, Jennifer messaged James saying she was "freaking out" because she couldn't reach Ethan after school. She also was frustrated with James not picking Ethan up "because he’s upset and I don’t want him to do anything stupid."
The prosecution argues that this shows the parents were aware of their son's mental distress.
Reaction to disturbing drawings
The filing also reveals that Jennifer allegedly told an interviewer after the shooting that she "didn’t even look at them closely," referring to disturbing photos Ethan drew on a math test ahead of the shooting. She also allegedly said, "My biggest fear was that he was gonna turn the gun on himself."
"Such fear only highlights the foreseeability of their son using the murder weapon—whether it be on himself or others," prosecutors wrote.
Jennifer and James were called to the school before the shooting when a teacher discovered the drawings. The parents allegedly declined to take him home after these drawings were found.
In the new filing, prosecutors also noted that the parents took the receipt for the gun James allegedly purchased for Ethan when they fled after the shooting. They had the receipt when caught in Detroit, prosecutors say.
"Defendants’ flight and the taking of the receipt for the murder weapon during such flight provide an inference of their consciousness of guilt," prosecutors wrote.
Ethan, who pleaded guilty last year, said during his plea that he gave his father the money to buy him the handgun.
Last month, James and Jennifer Crumbley appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court to have the charges against them dismissed. They are both charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The prosecution argues these are appropriate charges, noting that the parents failed to keep the gun away from "their troubled minor child."
The defense attorneys have argued that whatever the parents did might have been considered bad parenting, but it was not the cause of the deaths, and they want the case thrown out.