The mom of a teen who killed four students and injured seven others took the stand in her own trial this week — and was grilled about her affair, how her son obtained the murder weapon and the meeting she had with school officials about Ethan the morning of the shooting.
Jennifer Crumbley, the mom of school shooter Ethan Crumbley, is on the stand this week in her own trial — after she and her husband Jason were both charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the deadly event.
In November 2021, the couple’s son was responsible for a mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan which claimed the lives of four students and injured seven others. Ethan, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to life in prison without parole last year; Jason’s trial will kick off in March.
Jennifer took the stand in her defense on Thursday, with additional testimony and cross-examination continuing Friday.
During the trial, Crumbley’s affair with Brian Meloche came up — after she sent him a Facebook message after the shooting saying, “I failed as a parent. I failed miserably.” The two had been dating for about six months leading up to the shooting.
“I don’t think I’m a failure as a parent, but at that time, I guess I didn’t see … I felt bad that Ethan was sad at those things and I guess I just, I felt like I failed somewhere,” she said on the stand Thursday.
“As a parent you spend your whole life trying to protect your child from other dangers,” she continued. “You never would think you have to protect your child from harming someone else. That’s what blew my mind. That was the hardest thing I had to stomach was that my child harmed and killed other people.”
“I’ve asked myself if I would have done anything differently, and I wouldn’t have,” she continued when asked whether she had regrets. “I wish he would have killed us instead.”
While Meloche was on the stand on Wednesday, more messages between them were presented as evidence, in which she said she felt the shooting “could have been prevented” if the school hadn’t been so “nonchalant” with their concerns about his behavior. He also said he was “surprised” the Crumbleys got a gun for their son — and claimed that on the day of the shooting, Jennifer told him she could meet up with him, even though she reportedly told school officials she couldn’t take her son home or to seek mental health care because she had to get back to work.
Both Jennifer and Jason were called to the school hours before the shooting, after he made some concerning statements on a math worksheet. The drawings showed a gun and the message, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. The world is dead. My life is useless.”
Though she said she was “concerned” about the writings, she testified she thought he was just mad they told him he wasn’t allowed to go to the shooting range because of his bad grades — and they allowed him to stay in school for the rest of the day.
“We agreed that it might stress him out more to do his school remotely the rest of the day. But there was never a time where I would refuse to take him home,” she claimed on the stand. Ethan later pulled the handgun — which she said was purchased just days before the shooting for him to use at a shooting range — out and fired at his fellow students.
Of the handgun, Jennifer claimed her husband and her son bought it together on Black Friday — and shifted some of the blame to her husband. “I just didn’t feel comfortable being in charge of that. It was more his thing, so I let him handle that,” she said of how it was secured — adding, “I didn’t feel comfortable putting the lock thing on it.”
Messages from Ethan’s journal were also presented — in which he wrote, “I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the … school.” Another read, “My parents won’t listen to me about help or therapist.”
Jennifer, however, testified that while her son was open with her about anxiety dealing with school, she never felt it was “to a level where I felt he needed to go see a psychiatrist or mental health professional right away.” Regarding messages he sent her about their house being haunted and seeing ghosts and “demons,” she said, “It was just him messing around.”
On Friday, Crumbley also admitted to using Adult Friend Finder with Meloche to “arrange for other people to meet us” for hotel room trysts. She has said she doesn’t believe her affair — which she says was carried out while he was at school or when she was away on business trips — affected her relationship with her son.
Prosecutors have argued the parents are “grossly negligent” in the murders because they gave him the gun and failed to seek treatment for his mental health leading up to the shooting. So far, Jennifer has shifted the blame toward her husband and the school, as well as her own son — who, during his own trial, said his parents were “not at fault for what I’ve done.”
Jennifer’s trial is ongoing.