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Parents of School Shooter Convicted of Manslaughter

The Crumbleys were found guilty of involuntarily manslaughter during separate trials, but were sentenced together.

    The parents of Oxford, Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, making them the first parents of a school shooter to be held criminally accountable for their child’s actions.

       Oakland County prosecutor, Karen McDonald pursued action against the Crumbley parents, believing that they deserved punishment for their negligence. She felt that their lack of action and mishandling of their son inadvertently took the lives of these students. “McDonald appeared incredulous that any parents could be so reckless as to buy a gun and tell their teenager — who was sad, isolated, and obsessed with firearms and violent video games — that it belonged to him,” according to a New York Magazine article delving into the case.

      Prior to their sentencing, parents of the shooting victims gave impact statements during an emotional near-three hour hearing. Steve St. Juliana, father of 14-year-old victim Hana St. Juliana, said the Crumbleys continue to deflect blame, also expressing how his daughter’s death has destroyed a large portion of his soul. “Instead of acknowledging any mistakes, they continue to show no remorse…They blame everyone but themselves and make threats of retribution,” said St. Juliana.

Jill Soave, mother of 17-year-old victim Justin Shilling, called out the Crumbleys for their role in this atrocity and their failure to take responsibility for it. “This tragedy was completely preventable. If only they had done something, your honor, anything, to shift the course events on November 30, then our four angels would be here today,” Soave told the judge. 

Buck Myre, father of 16-year old Tate Myre, sought accountability from Oxford High School, who he said played a role in the tragedy. “It’s time to learn from this. From the purchase of the gun to the response – that’s when real change happens. It’s time to drive real change from this tragedy,” Myre concluded. 

Nicole Beausoleil, mother of 17-year-old victim Madisyn Baldwin told Jennifer Crumbley in regard to her handling of the situation, “While you were hiding, I was planning her funeral.”

    The Crumbley’s expressed remorse to the victim’s families for their son’s actions, but as the prosecutor and families argued- they never once admitted to having made a mistake. They repeatedly claimed to have not seen warning signs in their son until it was too late. Before issuing their sentence, Judge Cheryl Matthews of the Oakland County Circuit Court said, “But these convictions are not about poor parenting. These convictions confirm repeated acts or lack of acts that could have halted an oncoming runaway train — repeatedly ignoring things that would make a reasonable person feel the hair on the back of her neck stand up,”

    On April 9th, 2024, James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with 4 counts of involuntary manslaughter, facing a maximum sentence of 15 years. Some time will be deducted from the sentence due to them already serving 2 years prior when they were arrested in a Detroit warehouse on December 3rd, 2021, a few days after the shooting occurred. This case sets a precedent for future school shooting convictions.

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