Witnesses: Crumbley Ignored Warning Signs

Jennifer Crumbley's boss says she texted, 'Don't judge me for what my son did' after Oxford shooting
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2022 8:26 AM CST
Oxford Suspect's Mom Feared for Her Job After Shooting
Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School, appears during a preliminary examination on involuntary manslaughter charge in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(Newser) – Jennifer Crumbley told her boss and co-worker that she felt like a failure as a parent hours before her son opened fire at Michigan's Oxford High School, killing four people with a gun his parents had bought him as a gift, according to court testimony. Andrew Smith, CEO of a real estate company where Crumbley worked as marketing director, was one of five prosecution witnesses who testified Tuesday at a preliminary exam as a judge weighs whether there is enough evidence to have Crumbley and her husband, James, stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges, per the Detroit Free Press. Smith said Crumbley questioned her parenting when she returned to work on Nov. 30 after a school meeting prompted by Ethan Crumbley's drawing of a gun and a bloody body.

The couple failed to remove Ethan from school, staying for only 13 minutes, per the Detroit News. Hours later, Crumbley texted Smith saying "the gun is gone and so are the bullets" and "he must be the shooter." Around 9:30pm, she sent another text: "I need my job, please don't judge me for what my son did." Smith said he was "alarmed" and "surprised she was worried about her job at that point. I thought she would be more concerned about what was going on," per the Detroit News. Crumbley reportedly told horse farmer Kira Pennock, "I wish we had warnings, something." But Pennock said Crumbley had expressed concern that her son didn't have friends and spent most of his time playing video games. Earlier on Nov. 30, Crumbley had texted Pennock to say that her son "couldn't be left alone."

And a day before the shooting, Crumbley had joked with her son after he was found searching for ammunition on his cellphone at school. "You have to learn how to not get caught," she wrote. Other witnesses suggested the Crumbleys were distracted from their son's issues. Co-worker Amanda Holland said Jennifer Crumbley went to check on her horses almost every day after work. She also said the couple were considering a separation and had been seeing other people. The Crumbleys, who ultimately decided to stay together, were warned not to have communication with each other on Tuesday. "It's disrespectful and it's disruptive," Judge Julie Nicholson said, following complaints that they were blowing kisses and mouthing "I love you" to each other. (Read more Jennifer Crumbley stories.)

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