Jennifer Crumbley’s criminal trial continued Monday as prosecutors continued to lay the case that the Oxford High School shooter’s parents failed to give him ordinary care that would’ve prevented a tragedy.
Crumbley, 45, and her husband James Crumbley are both charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting. They’re the first parents of a mass shooter to be charged for their child's crimes.
Here were the big topics of testimony on the third day:
1st police interview with parents after shooting
The prosecution showed video of the first interview with the shooter’s parents in the hours after it happened and briefly questioned Det. Sgt. Joe Brian with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, who conducted the interview.
Brian testified he’s had to tell parents before of crimes that children are suspected of committing, and that a common reaction is for parents to cry, be in disbelief, and ask, "Why?" – all of which were seen in reactions from the Crumbleys.
School counselor’s meeting with parents
Oxford High School counselor Shawn Hopkins called the parents into school the morning of what became the shooting because he said he was concerned for their son’s well-being after learning he was researching bullets, drawing violent images, and had expressed sadness over recent personal events in a one-on-one conversation.
Hopkins said he was concerned about the student being left alone, so he kept the student in his office while he got ahold of the parents and they drove to the school.
Hopkins testified that his expectation for the meeting was to set a plan with the parents to get help for their son, and his hope was that they’d take him home that day and seek help from a list of therapists and counselors that was provided. Neither was accomplished.
Hopkins testified that he was taken aback and confused at the response from the parents. He said Jennifer Crumbley stated that it was "not possible" to get her son help that day because they had to return to work.
"I was a little surprised at their willingness to come but then not completely follow through," he said.
Because there was no disciplinary reason to keep their son out of class, and since the parents were not going to take him home, the student was allowed to return, which had also been what the student wished to do.
Jennifer’s relationship with the horse trainer
Kira Pennock, who owns the farm and barn where Jennifer Crumbley's two horses were boarded, testified about her relationship with Jennifer, what she knew of her son, and the conversation the two had in the hours following the shooting.
Part of the prosecution's case is alleging that Crumbley cared more for her horses than her son.
Pennock stated that Crumbley was at the barn at least several times a week, often after work. Pennock said she had a business relationship with Crumbley but that they were also friendly, "though not super close."
Pennock testified that Crumbley didn’t talk much about her son, and that Pennock had only ever met Crumbley’s son maybe once or twice.
Pennock testified she remembered Crumbley making a comment once that her son was "weird" and how she wished he did "normal kid things." Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald then asked if she ever heard Jennifer talk positively about her son.
"There was nothing truly positive when she was talking about him," Pennock testified. "There were quite a few times that she had voiced that he was an ‘oopsie baby.’"
This comment drew an objection, but the judge ruled that Crumbley’s relationship with her son was relevant to discuss.
Horse trainer’s "feeling" on who the shooter could be
Pennock testified that as news first became public of the school shooting, "My first thought is that I knew who the shooter was, by the math test that was sent to me." She testified Crumbley had sent her an image that her son had drawn in class, which had concerned school authorities because of its violent nature.
In the hours after the shooting, Crumbley kept in contact with Pennock, first messaging Pennock to say that she would not be at the barn that night, and a couple hours later to say that she needed to sell her horses "stat."
Pennock showed a level of kindness and sympathy towards Crumbley throughout the conversation, as noted by the defense, but Pennock testified that it was in an effort to get information.
"I did not truly feel bad for Jennifer. I was upset that this had happened to all of the kids and families and I wanted to figure out how I could possibly get more information to help make sure that things were taken care of." She said she was also concerned about the safety of her family and her barn family.
Pennock confirmed she didn’t call law enforcement or police with concern after an image the school shooter drew on his homework was sent to her. She testified that hindsight is what gave her the feeling that Jennifer’s son was the shooter before it became public knowledge.
Trial is set to resume Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024 at 8:30 a.m.