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Prosecutors say school shooter Ethan Crumbley’s parents show ‘chilling lack of remorse’ after manslaughter convictions

By Lauren del Valle and Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) — In newly filed court documents, Michigan prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence the parents of school shooter Ethan Crumbley to at least 10 years in prison, alleging they have both showed a “chilling lack of remorse” after they were convicted for involuntary manslaughter.

In two separate sentencing memorandums dated April 3, Oakland County prosecutors asked the judge to sentence each parent to 10 to 15 years in state prison.

The prosecutors allege Crumbley’s father has repeatedly threatened Prosecuting Attorney Karen McDonald and has said “there will be retribution,” while the mother has asked to serve her sentence under house arrest in her defense attorney’s home.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were both found guilty on four counts of involuntary manslaughter in two separate trials this year for their roles in their son’s mass shooting at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021. Jurors found they were both grossly negligent in allowing their teenage son to have a gun and ignoring signs of his spiraling mental health. Ethan, who was 15 at the time, killed four classmates – Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17 – and injured seven other people.

His parents have been behind bars since they were arrested in December 2021 at a Detroit warehouse after leading authorities on a manhunt following the school shooting.

They are scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. Shannon Smith, Jennifer Crumbley’s defense attorney, did not comment when reached by CNN.

CNN also reached out to an attorney for James Crumbley but has not heard back. Defense pre-sentencing submissions have not yet been filed on the public dockets.

Court documents allege threats, lack of remorse

In a rare move, prosecutors released excerpts of the pre-sentencing investigation reports publicly, and included statements from both defendants written after jurors found them culpable for the killings.

In the prosecution’s sentencing memorandum for James Crumbley, prosecutors noted “his jail calls show a total lack of remorse, he blames everyone but himself, and he threatened the elected Prosecutor.” They also note the father has repeatedly said he is being persecuted and has referred to himself as a “martyr.”

“After he could no longer express his threats through jail calls because his privileges were revoked, he chose to gesture his middle finger toward the prosecution in the middle of the trial,” the memorandum says.

In a pre-sentence investigation report completed this week, James Crumbley wrote he feels “absolutely horrible/am (devastated) for what happened,” and that he would “give anything to go back and do something different that would have changed what (happened).”

In that report, he argues he should be released from prison after the time he has already served, noting “I am wrongly accused, and now wrongly convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter.”

“Ethan always appeared to be a very stable individual. Never did he voice anything to me that anything was bothering him,’” James Crumbley wrote. He later added: “I followed the law and took gun safety to the point as needed. My gun was hidden in a location that, until I found out differently, only I knew of.”

In James Crumbley’s trial, jurors found he was grossly negligent because he bought the gun for his son just days before Ethan used it in the attack, did not properly secure it and did not take “reasonable care” to prevent the foreseeable danger. In text messages presented in court, Ethan wrote to a friend he was hearing people talking to him and messaged, “I actually asked my dad to take (me) to the Doctor yesterday but he just gave me some pills and told me to ‘Suck it up.’”

“Like it’s at the point that I am asking to got [sic] the doctor. My mom laughed when I told her,” Ethan said in the messages.

In the sentencing memorandum for Jennifer Crumbley, prosecutors pointed to statements she made on the stand during her trial, where she testified, “I’ve asked myself if I would have done anything differently, and I wouldn’t have.”

“This was not even the first time that defendant made these types of statements,” prosecutors wrote in the memorandum. “In one of her jail calls she previously stated, “I wouldn’t do anything different.”

In her pre-sentence report, Jennifer Crumbley acknowledged she testified she wouldn’t have done anything different but said “that is true without the benefit of hindsight that I have now.”

“With the information I have now, of course my answer would be hugely different,” she said, according to the report. “There are so many things that I would change if I could go back in time. I knew my son to be a quiet, good kind, who loved his pets. I never imagined he would hurt other people in the way that he did.”

“I have been in jail for over 26 months and have been locked down 23 hours per day,” she added. “I am hopeful the Court will sentence me in a way that allows me to be released for the balance of my sentence. I do have an Oakland County address where I could live and be placed on a tether with house arrest.”

Jennifer Crumbley asked that she be placed under house arrest in her defense attorney’s home, according to prosecutors. Smith, her attorney, notified the court that Crumbley could stay in her guest house for the duration of her sentence, according to the memorandum.

“Such a proposed sentence is a slap in the face to the severity of tragedy caused by defendant’s gross negligence, the victims and their families, and the applicable law that is premised on the concept of proportionate sentencing.”

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