Ethan Crumbley Parents, Manslaughter

Parents of School Shooter Ethan Crumbley Sentenced For Involuntary Manslaughter

Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews said during the sentencing that the judgment was not reflective of poor parenting, but that the pair ignored warning signs a “reasonable person” would not have.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years for involuntary manslaughter, the first time the parents of a school shooter were charged and convicted for a mass shooting.

As NBC News reported, the pair was charged and sentenced after their now 17-year-old son pleaded guilty as an adult during his trial over the 2021 shooting at Detroit’s Oxford High School. Ethan Crumbley was sentenced to life in prison as a result. 

The Crumbleys were found guilty in fall 2023. Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews said during the sentencing that the judgment was not reflective of poor parenting; instead, Matthews said the pair ignored warning signs that a “reasonable person” would not have.

During a victim impact statement, Nicole Beausoleil, the mother of a shooting victim, Madisyn Baldwin, directed her ire at the pair. “When you texted, ‘Ethan don’t do it,’ I was texting, ‘Madisyn, I love you, please call mom,'” Beausoleil said. “When you found out about the lives your son took that day, I was still waiting for my daughter in the parking lot. The lack of compassion you’ve shown is outright disgusting.”

The Crumbleys also addressed the court. James told Judge Matthews that he did not know about his son’s plans and expressed sorrow to the families of the victims. “I cannot express how much I wish I had known what was going on with him or what was going to happen,” James Crumbley said.

Jennifer, meanwhile, took some offense to the prosecution attempting to paint her as a neglectful parent but told the court that she felt “deep remorse, regret and grief” concerning the shooting. She tried to paint her and her husband as average parents: “We weren’t perfect, but we loved our son and each other tremendously.”

The victims’ families want to see changes to laws that prevent schools from being sued in connection to school shootings and want an independent review to be conducted after any mass shooting. Still, Oakland County prosecutors have indicated that they will not charge anyone else in connection to the mass shooting. 

Beausoleil said during an appearance on the Today Show that the sentence sends a message to parents nationwide “to really listen to your children,” Beausoleil said. “There should be accountability for every action that we have.” 

She also took umbrage with the Crumbleys’ statements in court, telling Today, “I felt like it was a way for them to again place blame on somebody else versus themselves. In those statements, there was still no accountability for their actions.”

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald seems to agree with Beausoleil, telling reporters after the trial, “Feeling bad is natural, and we don’t dispute that they feel bad … that’s not what’s important to victims of crime,” McDonald said. “What they want and need most of all is remorse, which means acknowledgment of the wrongdoing and some sort of reconciliation or apology for that—and that didn’t come.”