Michigan school shooter launches appeal as mother faces manslaughter trial

Attorneys for Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley appealed his prison sentence — life without parole — on Monday night, one day before his mother’s own trial is set to begin.

Court records show that the appeal was made on 22 January on behalf of the Oxford School shooter, who was 15 years old when he killed four classmates and injured seven others on 30 November 2021.

At the age of 17, he pleaded guilty to the 24 crimes, including first-degree murder, he was charged with committing. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in December 2023.

His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were also charged. They have each pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter. They’ve been accused of making a gun accessible at home and ignoring their son’s troubled mental health.

The parents are being tried separately; Jennifer Crumbley’s trial is set to begin on 23 January and James Crumbley’s trial is set to begin on 5 March.

Ethan Crumbley’s lawyers also said in the filing, obtained by the Detroit Free Press, that they advised their client “to invoke his right to remain silent” if he’s called to testify in either of his parents’ trials, acknowledging that his name appeared on the witness list of at least one of his parents’ cases.

The parents’ trials are historic; they are the first parents in America to be charged for their alleged role in a mass school shooting. If convicted, they could each face up to 15 years in prison.

Last month at his sentencing hearing, Ethan Crumbley said, “We are all here because of me today ... because of what I chose to do. ... My parents did not know what I planned to do, they are not at fault.”

Days before the mass shooting, James Crumbley bought his son a gun, which Ethan described on Instagram as his “new beauty.”

Just days later, a teacher noticed the 15-year-old searching for ammunition, prompting school administrators to contact his parents. Instead of responding to the school, his mother allegedly texted her son: “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”

On the day of the tragedy, prosecutors said, a teacher found a drawing on Ethan Crumbley’s desk depicting a school massacre, featuring a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words “the thoughts won’t stop help me.”

After noticing the violent illustration, school staff met with the high school sophomore and his parents met with school staff on that same day. Although the school staff urged Ethan Crumbley to seek psychiatric help that day and to leave school early, his parents rejected the idea and the school didn’t press any harder.