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Michigan school shooter's mom says son never showed signs of needing help

UPI
Jennifer Lynn Crumbley, the mother of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, told jurors Thursday that she never saw any signs that her son needed professional help. Photo courtesy of Oakland County Sheriff's Office/UPI

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- In a testimony Thursday, Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, said she never noticed any signs that her son might need mental health treatment, despite prosecutors assertions that she and her husband ignored his cries for help.

Crumbley took the stand Thursday afternoon before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews. She faces four counts of involuntary manslaughter for giving her son access to the gun with which he committed the shooting.

She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

In describing her relationship with her son, Crumbley told jurors she would battle with him over his grades, and he often would express anxiety over tests, but she never saw anything that made her think he needed professional help.

She said her son never asked for mental health treatment, either.

Ethan Crumbley was sentenced last year to life in prison with no parole for murdering four fellow students and injuring seven others in 2021.

Jennifer Crumbley said her son was an "average student," and her biggest issue with him was him missing assignments. She said she used the Powerschool app on her phone to monitor his grades and assignments multiple times a day.

She said she believed her family was a close one. She and her husband would talk about their son daily, she said, adding that he had interests such as bowling, playing video games and using metal detectors to find old coins or cans. He also enjoyed BB guns and target practice, she said.

Her husband, James Crumbley, also faces four counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the Oxford shooting. His trial begins in March.

Despite struggling with school and being indecisive about his future, Ethan Crumbley considered joining the military, and thought about owning a car shop or designing video games, Jennifer Crumbley said. She also said her husband did try to call the school to discuss career planning for their son.

"We would talk, I mean, we did a lot of things together," she said. "I trusted him. I felt like I had an open door, he can come to me about anything. I felt, as a family, the three of us were really close."

Crumbley told jurors her son played soccer from third to eighth grade. The family also would snow ski together and play board games together.

"He really liked history. He was a history buff. He played me in [the board game Trival Pursuit] and beat me every time," she said.

Jennifer Crumbley's attorney, Shannon Smith, took the jury through multiple photos posted on Crumbley's Facebook page, including ones showing family trips to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan, as well as trips to Florida and for camping and apple picking.

She noted that, as her son got older, it was harder to get him to pose for pictures.

"He didn't like having his picture taken," she said.

Smith introduced excerpts from the shooter's journal that she said show he did not have easy access to a gun.

According to Smith, the excerpts show the shooter tried to figure out where his father hid his gun and wrote about getting the gun in a way in which he wouldn't get caught.

Oakland County Sheriff's Det. Lt. Timothy Willis said he had no evidence that the Crumbleys saw their son's journal.

"If I had evidence of that, I think the charges would be different: murder," he said.

In court Wednesday, Crumbley blamed Oxford school officials for being "nonchalant" and not checking her son's backpack before he committed the shooting.

Her criticism was revealed in a series of messages between her and Brian Meloche, with whom she admitted she was having an affair at the time of the shooting.