The jury seated in Pontiac, Michigan returned a verdict for involuntary manslaughter Tuesday against Jennifer Crumbley. That meant jurors agreed the mother bears some responsibility under Michigan law for failing to keep a handgun from her mentally troubled son, Ethan, who shot 11 people and killed four in 2021.
The teen boy’s father, James, is scheduled for his own trial next month.
Mike Hammond, legislative counsel to Gun Owners of America, tells AFN he disagrees with the verdict but adds she was on trial in a liberal state with strict gun laws.
“I think the laws in a lot of blue states,” he says, “have said unless you lock up your gun and make it unavailable for self-defense, if particularly a child gains access to it and uses it to inflict bodily harm, then you are liable.”
According to a legal story published at Yahoo News, prosecutors had to convince jurors the mother had been grossly negligent and, secondly, had failed to perform a legal duty – to protect the four dead students – that went neglected. In both allegations, prosecutors told jurors the parents knew Ethan Crumbley was mentally ill and dangerous, but his warning signs and pleas for help went ignored by both parents who instead purchased him a handgun and took him target shooting.
Those warning signs also went ignored on the morning of the shooting, prosecutors said, even after the parents met with concerned school officials and thus had a last-minute opportunity to intervene.