Troubling texts emerge in hearing for parents of accused Oxford school shooter: ‘My son ruined so many lives today’

Hearing will resume on Feb. 24

Significant developments in the case against James and Jennifer Crumbley as both appeared in court together for a preliminary hearing Tuesday, Feb. 8. Multiple witnesses took the stand from one of Jennifer Crumbley's friends to her boss at work.

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – The parents of the teen accused of killing four and injuring seven in a shooting at Oxford High School were in court on Tuesday.

Multiple witnesses took the stand at the preliminary hearing for James and Jennifer Crumbley, which lasted all day.

Witnesses said that Jennifer Crumbley allegedly showed three people a violent drawing, that her son Ethan Crumbley made, the morning of the shooting.

Two witnesses said the morning before the shooting Jennifer Crumbley told them she felt like she failed Ethan Crumbley as a parent.

During the trial the judge told the couple they are not to attempt to communicate with each other. Jennifer Crumbley requested her chains and handcuffs be removed and sheriff’s deputies denied that request.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald then tried to show that the couple was more concerned with two horses they owned instead of their son. Jennifer Crumbley had also sent a text saying that her son couldn’t be left alone.

Jennifer Crumbley’s friend Kira Pennock said Jennifer Crumbley sent her Ethan Crumbley’s violent drawing the morning of the shooting. Right after the shooting she sent her friend this text: “My son ruined so many lives today.”

“I took that as he was the shooter at Oxford,” Pennock said.

Pennock said at times Jennifer Crumbley referred to her son as “weird” and said he only had one friend.

As news of the shooting broke, Jennifer Crumbley texted her boss the following: “I need my job, please don’t judge me for what my son did.”

“I was surprised by that text,” Andrew Smith said. “I was surprised she was worried about her job at that time. I thought she would be more worried about what was going on.”

During the hearing, McDonald argued that James and Jennifer Crumbley knew that Ethan Crumbley was in crisis and crying out for help -- but they failed to act.

“I have a missing gun and my son is at the school and we had to meet with the counselor this morning,” James Crumbley said in a 911 call made the day of the shooting.

Prosecutors went over videos of the gun they say the couple purchased for Ethan Crumbley. Prosecutors say Jennifer Crumbley had searched “clinical depression treatment options” on her phone.

Prosecutors also shared a phone call made from the school to Jennifer Crumbley after Ethan Crumbley was caught looking up ammo in class.

“He was on his phone looking at bullets and that sort of thing,” a school official said. “So she just wanted us to have a conversation we did he said he’d been to a shooting range with you this weekend. And we were like, ‘yep, you know, guns are a hobby for a lot of people and shooting ranges and that’s perfectly normal.’”

View: The drawings a teacher found on Ethan Crumbley’s desk just hours before Oxford High School shooting

The morning of the shooting sent a drawing Ethan Crumbley made to her husband. He replied with, “my God.”

Jennifer Crumbley texted back that “he said he was distraught about last night. I’m very concerned.”

Prosecutors found texts from Ethan Crumbley to his mother from April. He told her that he was seeing demons inside the home whenever he was alone and they were destroying the house. Those texts went unanswered.

Ethan Crumbley texted a friend, “I’m gonna ask my parents to take me to a doctor and tell them about the voices.” Ethan Crumbley also shared a video of a gun with that friend and said “time to shoot up the school. Just joking.”

The hearing will pick up again on Feb. 24.

Read: Complete Local 4 Defenders coverage

James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of the accused Oxford High School shooter, sat and listened today as one witness after another came forward with accounts of the Crumbleys' actions on Nov. 30 and, in some cases, before that terrible day.

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.