Michigan school shooter’s father accused of making threats in jailhouse phone calls as he goes on trial

James Crumbley’s phone and email access have now been limited to communications with his lawyer

Julia Reinstein
Friday 08 March 2024 22:12 GMT
Deleted texts between James Crumbley and shooter

The father of a Michigan school shooter made “threatening statements” from jail while awaiting trial, law enforcement officials said.

James Crumbley’s phone and email access have now “been limited due to threatening statements he made while on the phone and in electronic messages," the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to The Independent.

“His access to a phone or electronic messaging is now limited to communication with his lawyer,” they added.

Officials did not say what the nature of the threats were, nor to whom they were directed.

Mr Crumbley is currently on trial for involuntary manslaughter charges in relation to a mass shooting carried out by his son. Ethan Crumbley killed four students and wounded seven others after he opened fire at Oxford High School in 2021.

Ethan, now 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and terrorism charges for the shooting, and was sentenced in December to life in prison.

His mother, Jennifer Crumbley, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in February. She is expected to face sentencing in April.

The charges against Mr and Ms Crumbley were an unprecedented move by Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald to hold a mass shooter’s parents responsible for ignoring warning signs that their son was planning to commit an act of violence.

“I am angry. I’m angry as a mother. I’m angry as the prosecutor. I’m angry as a person that lives in this county,” Ms McDonald said in a press conference when she announced the charges. “There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent.”

The two parents have been accused of gross negligence for purchasing a gun for their son, despite the fact that he was showing signs of severe mental health issues, including hallucinations and hearing voices. At one point, he told a friend he’d asked his parents to take him to a doctor, but they allegedly brushed off his concerns.

The morning of the shooting, Mr and Ms Crumbley were called into school after teachers reported seeing the teenager watching shooting videos on his phone and drawing disturbing images depicting shootings. Even then, they did not take their son out of school, nor did they tell school officials he owned a gun.

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