Jennifer Crumbley, mother of Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, would sometimes refer to her son as an “oopsie baby,” according to witness testimony Monday.
Jennifer Crumbley is on trial for four counts of involuntary manslaughter after her son fatally shot four students – Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling,16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17 – and injured seven other victims at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021, when he was just 15 years old.
“There was nothing truly positive when she was talking about him,” Kira Pennock, who owns a farm in Michigan where Jennifer Crumbley once boarded her horses, said on the witness stand Monday. “There were quite a few times that she had voiced that he was an ‘oopsie baby.'”
Pennock also said Jennifer called her son “weird” and said she wished he did “normal kid things,” as FOX 2 Detroit first reported.
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Prosecutors alleged Jennifer and James Crumbley purchased the gun that Ethan used in the shooting as a Christmas gift for the then-15-year-old boy and posted about the purchase on social media.
The state has 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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“Just got to go to my son’s school and [met] his counselor. S— day,” reads a text Jennifer sent to Pennock just before 11 a.m. Nov. 30, which was presented during a pre-trial conference.
Jennifer and James met with their son and a school counselor the morning of the shooting to discuss a disturbing drawing he made in class, according to Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald.
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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.”
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.
Last week, prosecutors presented more of Crumbley’s text messages in court. In a text thread with her son on March 17, 2021, Ethan told his mother he thought the house was haunted and wrote that “demons” were “throwing bowls.”
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“Maybe it’s just my paranoia,” he wrote in a string of messages that went unanswered.
Jennifer did not respond because she and her husband were out riding horses; she had told her husband in a text from earlier that same day she wanted to “get drunk and ride [her] horse.”
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Immediately after the shooting in November 2021, the Crumbleys allegedly fled their Oxford home as Michigan authorities issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for the couple. 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.
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