The mother of accused Oxford, Michigan, high school shooter, Ethan Crumbley, who herself stands accused of involuntary manslaughter along with her husband for purchasing their son the gun he used to allegedly kill four of his classmates in December, sent a series of disturbing — and telling — text messages the day of the horrific attack.
On Tuesday, two witnesses testified that Jennifer Crumbley, who has pled not guilty, sent text messages about disturbing images her son allegedly drew, which had prompted school officials to call her and her husband, James Crumbley, into Oxford High School earlier that day.
“…Just got to go to my son’s school and meet his counselor. S*** day,” Jennifer Crumbley texted to Kira Pennock, who housed two of the family’s horses, on Nov. 30, just hours before the shooting, according to Fox News.
Prosecutors say the Crumbleys had been called into the school to discuss the unsettling drawing, which allegedly included images of guns and bullets and the words “The thoughts won’t stop,” “blood everywhere” and “my life is useless.”
Ethan purportedly convinced school officials that the drawings had been from a “video game.”
In January, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said that the couple had “flatly refused” to take their son home.
In her texts to Pennock, Crumbley said she still planned to attend their scheduled horse training session later that day and suggested that she would have to bring her son with her because “He can’t be left alone.”
She described how the teen had been going through a “hard time” with the death of the family dog, Tank, as well as his friend being sent to a treatment facility and “who knows what else.”
Jennifer sent an image of the chilling drawing to Pennock, as well as to her employer, Andrew Smith.
Do you believe the Crumbleys will be found guilty?
Yes: 75% (3 Votes)
No: 25% (1 Votes)
Smith, for his part, testified that Crumbley, who worked as his legal firm’s marketing director, texted him that day about the meeting at the school.
“I have to go to school. Counselor just called. This is what I’m dealing with,” she wrote.
Crumbley returned to the office later that day, which is where she was when she found out about the shooting.
During his testimony, Smith said he’d heard Jennifer scream when she learned of the shooting.
Later, she discovered that the gun her husband and her purchased for their son was missing, along with the ammunition.
“The gun is gone and so are the bullets,” she texted to Smith.
“Omg Andy he’s going to kill himself he must be the shooter,” she wrote in a subsequent message, before confirming, “Ethan did it.”
Hours later, in a text that Smith testified that surprised him, Crumbley wrote, “I need my job. Please don’t judge me about what my son did.”
McDonald pointed to a social media post from Crumbley from just days before in which she’d said that her husband had purchased a pistol for their son on Black Friday.
Now, it is the job of the jury to decide how the evidence stacks up against Jennifer and James Crumbley, but for those of us observing from outside the courtroom, it seems fair enough to put together that the parents were fully aware that their son had access to a pistol on the day they were summoned to his school and shown an image of a drawing of guns and the disturbing words that seem to have clearly expressed violent ideation and severe emotional distress.
Jennifer left a digital trail, confirming she was aware her son was suffering — to the point that she seems to have thought he shouldn’t be alone.
It occurred to her to let her horse trainer and employer know these intimate, disturbing details of her son’s emotionally fraught, potentially psychotic struggles, for some reason, but not to check and see if the pistol was still at home?
I can think of few more pressing reasons to place a firearm under lock and key than when there is a distressed teenager in the house who can’t be alone, at the very least, for his own safety.
Of course, while the Crumbleys face charges over this alleged gross negligence, they are not the only adults who failed the students at Oxford High School that day.
Why did no school administrators search Ethan’s backpack and locker? When I was in high school, you could have your locker and belongings searched for far less than disturbing, bloody drawings involving bullets and guns.
What’s most heartbreaking of all is that while Ethan’s alleged actions are in no way defensible by any stretch of the imagination, so severely neglecting his mental health and well-being is hardly defensible either.
The court will determine if his parents were criminally guilty of neglecting their son to the point of being responsible for the deaths he is accused of committing, but if the evidence stacked up against them is all true, they will most certainly answer to the Almighty for their failure to protect their son and his classmates from his own dark, distressed mind.