PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A jury was selected Wednesday in the trial of a Michigan woman who faces involuntary manslaughter charges in a school shooting committed by her teenage son.
Prosecutors insist Jennifer Crumbley bears some responsibility for the deaths of four students at Oxford High School in 2021. She’s accused of failing to address 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley’s mental health needs and making a gun accessible at home.
Jennifer Crumbley, 45, is not accused of knowing about her son’s plans. But prosecutors say she and husband James Crumbley were grossly negligent. It’s the first time parents have been charged in a mass school shooting.
Jury selection began Tuesday in Oakland County court, 40 miles north of Detroit.
The judge and lawyers spoke to prospective jurors for hours, probing for any strong opinions about the tragedy, guns, parental responsibility and other themes that will emerge at trial.
Judge Cheryl Matthews said the case is “deeply sad” but that “sympathy” should have no role in determining guilt or innocence.
Defense attorneys insist the parents could not have foreseen the murders. Opening statements will be given Thursday.
In December, Ethan, 17, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder, terrorism and other crimes. James Crumbley, 47, will face a separate trial in March.
The Crumbleys have been in jail for more than two years awaiting trial, unable to afford a $500,000 bond. Involuntary manslaughter in Michigan carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.