Ethan Crumbley's Parents to Stand Trial on Oxford School Shooting Charges

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, will go to trial in connection to the November 30 tragedy.

The two have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter following accusations that they did not heed warnings that their son could carry out the violent act and that they supplied him with the gun he allegedly used, Detroit's WDIV-TV reported. The case has the potential to set a precedent when deciding whether a young shooter's parents should share the blame for their child's actions.

Rochester District Court Judge Julie Nicholson's decision to go to trial comes after a two-day hearing in which she heard evidence and determined there was enough to go to circuit court, the Associated Press reported. The trial's start date has not yet been announced.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and other gun charges, according to the AP. The shooting at the Michigan high school injured seven people and killed four—Madisyn Baldwin, Justin Shilling, Hana St. Juliana and Tate Myre.

Testimony at the hearing revealed that the teen kept a journal in which he allegedly expressed his desire to "do the biggest school shooting in Michigan's history," The Detroit News reported. "The first victim has to be a pretty girl with a future so she can suffer like me," Oakland County Sheriff Department Lieutenant Timothy Willis read from the journal.

"My parents won't listen to me about help or a therapist," the journal also stated, according to WJBK-TV.

Five witnesses testified during the preliminary hearing; three of them were Jennifer Crumbley's former co-workers, WJBK added.

Her former supervisor, Andrew Smith, testified that shortly after the shooting, she sent him a text saying, "OMG Andy, he's going to kill himself he must be the shooter," then pleaded with him not to fire her, writing, "Please don't judge me for what my son did," Newsweek previously reported.

Jennifer Crumbley sent similar messages to Kira Pennock, a horse-riding instructor who also testified. Pennock said Crumbley sent her a screenshot of a "troubling" picture her son had drawn.

Shawn Hopkins, a school guidance counselor, also testified, saying he met with the Crumbleys after suspecting Ethan was showing suicidal ideation, according to WJBK. Hopkins said the parents "weren't friendly or showing care to the student," adding that they did not greet or touch him. Though Hopkins recommended the 15-year-old get immediate mental health treatment, the parents said they had to work, according to Hopkins' testimony.

While a preliminary hearing serves as a way for a judge to decide whether a case goes to trial and to decide which evidence can be used, it is also an opportunity for the defense to hear what evidence the prosecution has against them, WJBK reported.

According to The Detroit News, defense attorney Shannon Smith asserted that there was "no reason to predict and foreshadow that there would be a school shooting."

"But at the end of the day, the law doesn't care about what kind of parents they were," she said. "It cares whether we knew their son was going to commit murder. James and Jennifer Crumbley did not know that a murder would be committed."

Update 02/24/22 at 5:50 p.m. ET: This story was updated to add more information.

James Crumbley, Jennifer Crumbley, court
James and Jennifer Crumbley will stand trial for their alleged connection to the Oxford High School shooting. Above, the Crumbleys appear in court for a probable cause conference on December 14, 2021, in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images