Washington, Feb 6 (EFE).- Jennifer Crumbley on Tuesday became the first parent in the United States to be convicted of manslaughter for a mass shooting committed by her child.
The jury found Crumbley, 45, guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter for a mass shooting at a high school in the Midwestern state of Michigan perpetrated by her then 15-year-old son, Ethan Crumbley.
The mass shooting occurred on Nov. 30, 2021, at Oxford High School, and resulted in the deaths of four students and injuries to six other students and a teacher.
Jennifer Crumbley remains free on bond and faces up to 15 years in prison on each count, for which the sentencing hearing is set to April 9.
In a separate trial, the son pleaded guilty to one count of terrorism, four counts of murder, and 19 other charges in connection with the shootings, and is currently serving life in prison without parole.
James Crumbley, 47, the boy’s father, will be tried separately in March.
An unprecedented trial
The main issue at trial was whether the mother could have foreseen what her son was going to do and whether she was negligent in stopping him.
In other US states, parents whose children have engaged in gun violence have pleaded guilty to charges of reckless conduct or neglect, but this is the first time that parents are tried as responsible for manslaughter.
The mother pleaded not guilty and took the stand to say she did not regret her actions but did regret the outcome.
“I’ve asked myself if I would have done anything differently and I wouldn’t have,” she said. “I wish he would have killed us instead.”
Prosecutors argued that Jennifer Crumbley was responsible because she was “grossly negligent” in giving her 15-year-old son a gun and ignoring possible signs of mental health problems.
During the trial, several people, including school employees and people who knew the mother, testified for the prosecution.
Prosecutors said the teen suffered from hallucinations about ghosts and asked his parents for help, which the mother never took seriously.
But the defense attorney argued that the mother was not to blame, but the school for not reporting her son’s behavioral problems, and the shooter himself, who planned and carried out the attack on his own.
The defense also said the father failed to properly lock up the gun.
Finally, the prosecution highlighted the Crumbley’s inaction at a meeting at the high school on the morning of the shooting, in which school officials showed them a disturbing drawing their son had made of a gun and a person bleeding, and recommended they seek mental health treatment for him.
The parents cut the meeting short to go to work and refused to take their son home, and the school officials failed to check his backpack, which contained a gun, before sending him back to class. EFE