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Trial begins for Oxford school shooter’s mother, Jennifer Crumbley -

Testimony began Thursday in the involuntary manslaughter trial for the mother whose son shot and killed his classmates at Oxford High School more than two years ago.

Jennifer Crumbley and her husband, James Crumbley, were both charged with involuntary manslaughter —something that could set a national precedent if they are convicted.

Prosecutors say the couple ignored signs their son could become violent, instead buying him the gun he used to kill four students at Oxford High. They say reasonable parents would have taken steps that could have stopped the massacre before it began.

During the mother’s trial on Thursday, Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast showed the jury pictures of violence drawn by her son, alleging the parents knew Ethan Crumbley was troubled.

“And when someone with that kind of information looks at this, the unimaginable becomes predictable,” he said. “It becomes reasonably foreseeable. That’s why, even though she didn’t pull the trigger on November the 30th, she’s responsible for those deaths.”

Though it was James Crumbley who bought the handgun used in the Oxford shooting, messages between the couple show Jennifer Crumbley had knowledge of the purchase.

Witness for the prosecution, ATF Special Agent Brett Brandon, read the messages out loud from the witness stand.

“James Crumbley, who’s in green, responds: ‘Taking Ethan to store at 12.’ Jennifer responds: ‘You get gun?’”

Defense attorney Shannon Smith argued school officials told Crumbley her son did not pose a danger to anyone, saying she did not realize how truly troubled he was until she saw him in custody after the shooting.

“And for the first time when he looks at her, his eyes looked black. And it was a son she did not recognize,” Smith told the jury.

Jennifer Crumbley broke down in court when attorneys played security video of the shooting.

Smith says Crumbley herself will testify in her own defense.

Quinn Klinefelter is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, anchoring midday newscasts and preparing reports for WDET, NPR and the BBC.
Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET.