Jennifer Crumbley’s trial continued on Tuesday with witnesses testifying about the morning of the 2021 Oxford High School shooting in Michigan. Andrew Smith, the CEO of the real estate company where Jennifer Crumbley worked at the time of the shooting, testified that she would have been allowed to leave for the day if she needed to take care of her son.
Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of school shooter Ethan Crumbley, pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter for her alleged role in the shooting.
Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December for killing four students and injuring seven others in November 2021.
Smith testified that Jennifer Crumbley would have also been allowed to bring her son to the office the day of the shooting if she needed to. He also testified that she had only enrolled in health benefits for herself.
He also testified that he saw Jennifer Crumbley racing down the hall, telling him that there was an active shooter at her son’s school.
Jennifer Crumbley texted Smith minutes after leaving the office that “the gun is gone and so are the bullets,” according to evidence of the texts.
Smith testified that he was “taken aback” and “surprised” when he received a text from Jennifer Crumbley after the shooting that said “I need my job. Please don’t judge me for what my son did.”
Crumbley was terminated from her job days after the shooting, Smith testified.
Nicholas Ejak, who worked as the dean of students at Oxford High School at the time of the shooting, testified about the morning of the shooting, including meeting with the Crumbley parents when concerns were raised about the Ethan Crumbley.
Ejak testified that the school asked the Crumbley parents to get him counseling that day and informed the parents of resources to get that help, including options that would have allowed them to get him help that day.
Ejak testified that the parents, the decision makers of whether Ethan Crumbley would go home that day, chose to have him return to class.
Ejak testified that if Ethan Crumbley were to go home, his parents said he would have to walk home and remain alone. School officials, who were worried about his mental health, did not think it was a good idea for him to be alone since they were concerned he was considering suicide.
Amanda Holland, a coworker of Jennifer Crumbley, also testified about speaking with Jennifer Crumbley the morning of the shooting and the nature of her relationship.
On Monday, video of police’s first interrogation of the Crumbley parents, just hours after the shooting, was shown in court.
At one point in the video, Jennifer is seen scrolling through her phone. The prosecution tried to suggest this was not normal behavior for a mother who had just learned her son had committed a school shooting. The defense tried to counter that by pointing out that Jennifer was sharing messages she had received from her son with police.
At one point in the video, the parents are taken to the room where Ethan Crumbley was being held and Jennifer Crumbley appeared to ask the shooter, “Why?”
Oxford High School counselor Shawn Hopkins testified he met with Ethan Crumbley and his parents just hours before the shooting happened after the shooter drew disturbing images on a math worksheet.
Hopkins testified that he previously interacted with Ethan Crumbley on a couple of occasions earlier in 2021, after teachers had reached out to Hopkins to share their concerns over Ethan Crumbley’s behavior, including writing alarming poetry, failing grades, watching videos of shootings and googling bullets in class.
On the morning of the shooting, Hopkins called Ethan Crumbley to his office over the images he had drawn on his math paper. Ethan Crumbley initially told Hopkins the drawings were related to a video game. Hopkins said he began to ask more pointed questions to get beyond the “video game” idea, and that’s when the shooter’s demeanor shifted and he became sad.
He told Hopkins that his friend moved, his family dog and a grandparent had recently died, he was struggling with COVID and attending school during the pandemic, and that he had argued with his parents about grades the night before.
After this discussion, Hopkins said he called Jennifer Crumbley to come to the school right away. The counselor said he was concerned the shooter was displaying “suicidal ideation,” and that he should seek help immediately.
Hopkins said he did not explicitly ask the parents to remove the shooter from school — however, he testified that he asked the parents to get the shooter therapeutic help that day, if possible. Jennifer Crumbley “made it clear” that they wouldn’t be able to take the shooter for help that day, Hopkins said.
Because the parents weren’t taking the student home that morning, the counselor expressed concern about the shooter being alone, since he was believed to be potentially suicidal. Ethan Crumbley requested to remain in class, and the parents were on board with him staying in class, so the shooter was allowed to return to his normal schedule before the shooting began, according to the counselor’s testimony.
Kira Pennock, who managed the barn where the Crumbleys kept their two horses, walked through messages she exchanged with Jennifer Crumbley on the day of the shooting and the days following where the two women work out a potential deal for Pennock to buy the horses.