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Mich. School Shooter's Mother, Now on Trial for Manslaughter, Asked Him 'Why? Why?' Hours After Attack

In court Monday, prosecutors showed video of Jennifer and James Crumbley's interview with police hours after the school shooting

<p>Bill Pugliano/Getty (2)</p> Jennifer, left, and James Crumbley

Bill Pugliano/Getty (2)

Jennifer, left, and James Crumbley
  • Video played in court during Jennifer Crumbley's trial Monday shows a police interview with her and James Crumbley in the hours after their son killed four students in a high school shooting

  • The video at one point shows Jennifer asking her son, "Why?"

  • James is seen saying "I love you" to his son multiple times as he exits the room where the shooter was being held

On day three of the involuntary manslaughter trial of Jennifer Crumbley, whose son, Ethan, pleaded guilty to murdering four students in a 2021 school shooting, prosecutors played video of her interview with detectives hours after the shooting.

Video of the court proceedings Monday was recorded by Law & Crime, and features detectives speaking to Jennifer and her husband, James Crumbley, who is set to go on trial on an involuntary manslaughter charge himself.’

The shooter admitted to killing four students at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., in Nov. 2021 and injuring seven people, including a teacher. The victims were identified as Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling, 17, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.

<p>Hana St. Juliana/Instagram; Tate Myre/Twitter; Kevin Shilling/GoFundMe; Jennifer Graves Mosqueda/GoFundMe</p> Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre, Kevin Shilling and Madisyn Baldwin

Hana St. Juliana/Instagram; Tate Myre/Twitter; Kevin Shilling/GoFundMe; Jennifer Graves Mosqueda/GoFundMe

Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre, Kevin Shilling and Madisyn Baldwin

Following a manhunt, Jennifer and James were arrested in Dec. 2021 and each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors have claimed that both parents could have done more to prevent the shooting.

Related: Jennifer Crumbley, Mother of Oxford High School Shooter, Goes on Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter

On Monday, prosecutors played video of the Crumbleys’ initial interview with police, which begins with footage of the parents sitting at a table with two detectives. In it, both seem to express disbelief at their son’s actions.

“He’s never done anything bad,” Jennifer says at one point.

<p>Bill Pugliano/Getty</p> Jennifer Crumbley

Bill Pugliano/Getty

Jennifer Crumbley

Later, the video shows James and Jennifer entering the room where the shooter was being held. A detective asked if they had any questions for their son, before James responded saying he didn’t think they needed to question him.

As they were being led out of the room with the shooter, Jennifer turned and asked her son, “Why? Why?”

James, leading Jennifer out, can be heard saying “I love you” multiple times to the shooter.

As Jennifer returns to the original interview room, she can be heard saying, “He didn’t even, like, care.”

Related: Hours Before School Shooting, Suspect and Parents Met with School Officials About 'Concerning' Behavior

During opening statements last Thursday, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast said Jennifer was "still given the opportunity to prevent” the shooting, referring to a meeting that morning between school officials and both parents.

The parents were notified after the school saw a drawing of a gun the shooter made on a math worksheet, according to the prosecution. But the meeting ended abruptly, Keast said, and Jennifer declined to bring her son home.

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In the video shown Monday, Jennifer asks her husband toward the beginning of the interview, “Do you think we should get a lawyer?”

James responded, saying, “I think we can speak to the cops.”

Later in the interview, both James and Jennifer expressed that they wished they hadn’t left the shooter at school that day.

“I really wish we’d have taken him home,” Jennifer said.

In court Monday, Jennifer’s attorney Shannon Smith said the school didn't notify her client about her son's deteriorating performance or pattern of disturbing behavior during the meeting.

The gun used in the shooting was given to the shooter as an early Christmas present by his parents just days before.

In December, the shooter was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to 24 charges, including terrorism, in 2022.

Just days before the shooting, a teacher tried to contact Jennifer about internet searches on the shooter's phone for ammunition, but she didn't respond.

Jennifer later texted her son and said, "Lol I'm not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught," Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said in 2021.

After the shooting was made public after 911 calls came in at 12:51 p.m., Jennifer texted him at 1:22 p.m., "Ethan, don't do it," according to McDonald.

James Crumbley is set to go on trial separately in March, the Detroit Free-Press reported.

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