School shooter’s parents sentenced to prison

After repeated inaction from the Crumbleys, prosecutors argue fault lies with the whole family.

The parents of a 17-year-old school shooter have been sentenced to at least 10 years in prison. Last Tuesday, a crowded courtroom listened to Judge Cheryl Matthews as she sentenced Jennifer and James Crumbley.

“These convictions are not about poor parenting,” Oakland County Judge Cheryl Matthews said, according to AP News. “These convictions confirm repeated acts, or lack of acts, that could have halted an oncoming runaway train.”

The sentencing comes after Ethan Crumbley used a pistol to kill Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Justin Shilling, 17; and Hana St. Juliana, 14, in November 2021. The 15-year-old injured seven others with the gun his parents gifted him. Ethan Crumbley was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in December 2023 for the murders committed at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021.

On the morning of the 2021 shooting, Ethan Crumbley’s parents were asked to come to the school to discuss his violent drawing on a math assignment. The drawing accompanied the phrases: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. My life is useless.”

Ethan Crumbley’s parents were accused of improperly securing the handgun James Crubmley purchased for his son as an early Christmas gift and for their inaction in the face of their son’s deteriorating mental health. Earlier this year, both parents were convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

“The blood of our children is on your hands, too,” Craig Shilling told the couple, wearing a hoodie with the image of his son Justin Shilling on his chest, according to AP News.

Baldwin’s mother, Nicole Beausoleil, told the courtroom that the Crumbleys had failed at parenting. “While you were purchasing a gun for your son and leaving it unlocked,” Beausoleil said, “I was helping her finish her college essays.”

The Crumbleys will receive credit for the two and a half years they have already spent in custody and become eligible for parole after serving 10 years. If their release from prison is denied, both parents could be held for up to 15 years.

Five deputies stood by the couple and many more lined the walls of the courtroom after James Crumbley was recorded making threats toward prosecutor Karen McDonald in jail.

The Detroit Free Press published transcripts of James Crumbely’s tirades, which included a string of profanity. He was recorded saying statements such as: “She really got it coming to her when I f—— get out” and, “Your ass is going down and you better be f—— scared.”

Throughout the trial for both parents, jurors were allowed to see excerpts from Ethan Crubmely’s journal, where he wrote, “I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the… school,” according to AP News. “I want help but my parents don’t listen to me so I can’t get any help.”

Relatives of the victims were unhappy that the Crumbleys portrayed themselves as victims throughout the trial and sentencing.

According to AP News, Steve St. Juliana, the father of Hana, said outside court, “The remorse that they were showing has nothing to do with taking accountability for their actions.”

Judge Matthews will later decide whether the Crumbleys will be allowed to have contact with their son, as the three family members will all be in separate state prisons.

Defense lawyers said the Crumbleys have a constitutional right to be a family. But McDonald wondered about the parents of the victims: “The parents in that courtroom have been deprived of their constitutional right to be parents, and that matters,” McDonald told reporters.

Post Author: Isabella Musollino