Legal /

Michigan School Shooter's Dad Argues Jury Should Not See His Journal or Texts

Ethan Crumbley has opted not to testify at either of his parents’ trials

Michigan School Shooter's Dad Argues Jury Should Not See His Journal or Texts

The father of a school shooter argued the jury for his involuntary manslaughter case would be prejudiced if they were allowed to see his son’s texts and journals.

James Crumbley was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from his teenage son’s attack on his Michigan high school. His then-15-year-old son Ethan killed four of his classmates at Oxford High School after opening fire in November 2021.

The deceased victims were Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling, 17, and Hana St. Juliana, 14. Six other students and a teacher were injured.

The shooter’s parents have been accused of being aware of their son’s mental health issues, buying him a gun despite concern about his behavior, and failing to disclose concerns to the school – which prosecutors believe set the stage for the shooting.

The Crumbleys are the first parents to be held criminally responsible for a mass shooting carried out by their child.

The school shooter’s mother, Jennifer, was found guilty on Feb. 6 of four counts of involuntary manslaughter – one count for each of the deceased students. The foreperson of the jury in her trial said in a subsequent interview that the shooter’s journal had a significant influence on some members of the jury that returned a unanimous decision. 

James Crumbley is set to go to trial in two weeks. His legal team argued in court on Feb. 21 that the texts and journal should not be presented if Ethan Crumbley does not testify.

Defense attorney Mariell Lehman argued in a new filing that “it is wrong to let jurors see these excerpts if the defense cannot challenge them because the shooter has refused to testify,” reports The Detroit Free Press.

"The issues in the upcoming trial include that Mr. Crumbley failed to act to prevent the students' deaths when he was allegedly aware of a situation in which he should have acted," Lehman wrote. "The prosecution has previously taken the position that Mr. Crumbley knew of the shooter's mental health difficulties and should have foreseen that the shooter would commit a school shooting."

The journal reportedly contains the younger Cumbley’s written statement describing his state of mind and his desire to attack his school.

"I am not going to kill myself. I am going to surrender to the police. I wish to hear the screams of the children as I shoot them," he wrote in one entry that was presented in court in 2021. “All I need is my 9mm pistol which I am currently begging my dad for.”

According to Fox 2 Detroit, the journal also contains entries about the shooter’s experience torturing birds to death, his debilitation about telling school staff about his plan, and his sense of hopelessness. 

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to 24 counts brought against him – including four counts of first-degree murder and one count of terrorism.

Mrs. Crumbley, who is facing up to 15 years in prison, will be sentenced on April 9.

James Crumbley’s trial begins on March 5.

*For corrections please email [email protected]*