April 12, 2024

Prosecutors will seek 10 to 15 years in prison for Crumbley’s parents at sentencing

Prosecutors said Wednesday they will ask a judge to sentence the Michigan parents convicted in the deadly shooting at their son’s school to According to copies of the prosecutor’s memos obtained by NBC News, they each face 10 to 15 years in prison.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, both found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in separate trials, face up to 15 years in prison on the four charges — each representing a student killed by their son Ethan in 2021.

In Michigan, Oakland County prosecutors said, crimes arising from the same event must occur concurrently, so the maximum a judge can impose is a total of 15 years.

The prosecutor argued in his sentencing memos to Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews that the parents’ cases called for sentences that exceeded advisory guidelines.

In each case, prosecutors wrote that the parents’ “gross negligence forever changed an entire community.”

They both could have prevented the shooting with “tragically simple actions,” prosecutors wrote, adding that they “took no action when faced with the greatest dangers.”

The Crumbleys will be sentenced on the same day – April 9 – in an Oakland County court. It was not immediately clear whether this would be at the same time, although the families of the slain students are expected to read victim impact statements and court officials may choose to have the parents appear together for logistical purposes.

The sentencing would mark the first time the Crumbley parents – who cannot communicate with each other from prison – would be able to see each other, as they attended joint hearings before their trials were broken up.

The sentencing memo for James Crumbley referred to alleged threats he made against the prosecutor, saying “his prison sentences show a complete lack of remorse” and “he blames everyone but himself.”

The memo details the expletive-ridden threats in which he directly addressed the accuser through multiple recorded jail sentences. During a phone conversation before the trial, he said, “Karen McDonald, you’re going down.” In other calls he threatened retaliation.

The conviction caps a winding legal saga in which Ethan pleaded guilty as an adult to the shooting at Oxford High School in suburban Detroit and was sentenced to life in prison. The charges against James Crumbley, 47, and Jennifer, who turned 46 on Monday, marked the first time in the US that the parents of a gunman have been held legally responsible for a mass school shooting committed by their child.

After James Crumbley’s conviction last month, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said the charges against the parents were based on evidence that the parents failed to adequately store a 9mm semi-automatic handgun that their son had access, and therefore could have stopped the impending murder. attack. They were not accused of having prior knowledge of the disaster.

“I hope it leads to more gun violence prevention,” McDonald told NBC News of the double conviction. “I hope this leads to people taking more responsibility.”

McDonald declined to comment on the threats James Crumbley allegedly made from prison during an interview immediately after the trial, but her office said in a later statement that “those threats are serious and also reflect a lack of remorse and an ongoing refusal to take action.” liability for his part in the deaths” of students Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17.

Sources close to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to NBC News that Crumbley allegedly told his sister during multiple jailhouse phone calls that he would make it his goal in life to destroy McDonald.

In an interview with NBC News before the details of the alleged threats became public, James Crumbley’s attorney, Mariell Lehman, said she and her client had “a disagreement about what was said and the nature of that stuff.”

The sentencing memo also cites James Crumbley’s belief, made in a pre-sentencing report, that he was wrongly convicted and should be sentenced to prison.

“I feel terrible for what happened and would do anything to be able to go back in time and change it! But I can’t. And I had nothing to do with what happened,” James wrote Crumbley, according to the prosecutor’s memo. “I don’t know why my son did what he did. HE’s the only one who knows.”

Prosecutors wrote that the request showed a “blatant lack of remorse” and was “a slap in the face” to the victims and their families.

Neither Lehman nor Jennifer Crumbley’s attorney have said whether they plan to appeal the landmark convictions.

They declined to comment Wednesday on the prosecutor’s sentencing memorandum.

Meanwhile, the Oakland County Prosector’s Office released copies of an agreement with two Oxford school employees who testified in the lawsuits against the parents. The “proffer” letters, a contract that typically allows witnesses to provide information without it being used against them in a criminal proceeding, were signed in December 2021 as prosecutors built their case against the parents in the first months after the shooting .

The prosecution has steadfastly maintained that no witness has ever been granted immunity in response to local media reports that prosecutors had given assurances that their interviews with investigators would not be used against them.

The letters state that there is “no promise of favorable consideration” when it comes to potential charges against school officials, but also include a paragraph noting that anything the school officials said in the interviews cannot be used to advance charges against them to submit.

“The prosecutor has said from the beginning that she did not see sufficient evidence to support criminal charges against anyone at the school, and that position has never changed,” Oakland County Chief Prosecutor David Williams said in a statement last month.

Guidance counselor Shawn Hopkins and former dean of students Nicholas Ejak both met with the Crumbley parents and their son in the hours before the shooting began. They testified that they encouraged the parents to take Ethan home after a teacher found a drawing of a gun with the words “help me” and “the thoughts won’t stop” on his math assignment.

They testified that no adult ever checked Ethan’s backpack for a gun the morning of the shooting, and Ejak told jurors that he even joked with a teacher at one point about how heavy the bag was at one point. Hopkins said he thought Ethan would be better off staying in school rather than being home alone when his parents went back to work.

“Both witnesses subsequently testified under oath without any promise or protection, and they received nothing for their testimony,” Williams said.

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