The defense attorney for Jennifer Crumbley, mother of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, quoted Taylor Swift lyrics in her opening statements Thursday on the first day of Jennifer’s criminal trial.
“On my way to court today, I blasted Taylor Swift to warm my voice and calm my nerves, and there was a line in one of her songs that summarized what this case is about. ‘Band-Aids don’t stop bullet holes,’ and that’s what this case is about,” Shannon Smith told jurors, referencing Swift’s “Bad Blood.”
Jennifer Crumbley and her husband, James Crumbley, who is being tried separately, are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each in Oakland County after Ethan, then 15, killed 16-year-old Tate Myre, 16-year-old Justin Shilling, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, and left seven others severely injured on Nov. 30, 2021.
Smith said the case is about prosecutors trying to cover problems related to the school shooting with “a Band-Aid” — in this case, the involuntary manslaughter charges filed against Jennifer.
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“The prosecution has charged Jennifer Crumbley with involuntary manslaughter in an effort to make the community feel better, in an effort to make people feel like someone is being held responsible, in an effort to send a message to gun owners,” Smith said.
“None of those problems will be solved by charging Jennifer Crumbley with involuntary manslaughter.”
The defense attorney noted that while Jennifer is “not a perfect parent,” prosecutors have “selectively pulled out slivers of evidence from a forest of trees to try and convince you there was something wrong with Ethan,” and his mother “should have known” before he opened fire on Oxford High School.
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Jennifer broke down in tears while seeing a video from the school shooting for the first time in court.
Prosecutors have argued that Jennifer and James Crumbley purchased the gun that Ethan used in the shooting as a Christmas gift for the then-15-year-old boy. They allege Jennifer posted about the purchase on social media.
Prosecutors have also pointed to Jennifer’s text messages to friends and colleagues indicating she knew something was wrong with her son prior to the shooting.
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On the morning of the shooting, James and Jennifer met with school counselors to discuss a disturbing drawing Ethan had made in class that day. Instead of taking him home, prosecutors say, they left. Ethan Crumbley later took a gun from his backpack and opened fire. He is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for his crimes.
Assistant prosecutor Marc Keast opened his remarks by naming each of the four victims who were killed on Nov. 30.
“Jennifer Crumbley didn’t pull the trigger that day, but she is responsible for those deaths.”
Keast added that there “is no claim” Jennifer Crumbley gifted her son a firearm knowing he would commit a mass shooting, which is why “she is not charged with murder” but involuntary manslaughter, which, “by definition is unintentional,” Keast said.
The assistant prosecutor also presented a photo of the drawing Ethan made on the morning his mother met with school officials.
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“The thoughts won’t stop,” Ethan wrote beneath a drawing of a gun, which he crossed out before meeting with school officials, followed by, “Help me.” Above a drawing of a bullet, the drawing says, “Blood everywhere.” Further down on the page are other handwritten words and phrases, including, “My life is useless.”
The 15-year-old suspect was able to convince school officials during the meeting that the concerning drawings were for a “video game.” His parents “flatly refused” to take their son home, the prosecutor said in 2022.
“Just got to go to my son’s school and meet his counselor. S— day,” Jennifer Crumbley allegedly texted an acquaintance just before 11 a.m. on Nov. 30 in a conversation about her horse lesson scheduled for later that day.
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After the meeting, Jennifer Crumbley suggested in another text that she might take Ethan to the horse farm on the afternoon of Nov. 30 after school, saying, “He can’t be left alone.”
After learning that her son was the suspected shooter, Jennifer Crumbley texted her boss, “The gun is gone and so are the bullets,” and “Omg Andy he’s going to kill himself he must be the shooter.” She also said, “Ethan did it.”
Immediately after the shooting, the Crumbleys allegedly fled their Oxford home as Michigan authorities issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for the couple after the shooting. They were considered fugitives before U.S. Marshals apprehended them on Dec. 4, 2021.
Their attorneys said they fled for their own safety and turned themselves in several days later and have argued the parents could not have predicted their son’s plan to commit a mass shooting.
Ethan said during his December 2023 sentencing that his parents are not to blame because they “did not know,” and the now-17-year-old did not “tell them” what he planned to do.
Source: Fox News