Michigan school shooter’s mother blames her husband in trial testimony

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A US mother on trial for failing to stop her son from carrying out a deadly school shooting has sought to put the blame on her husband.

Jennifer Crumbley, taking the stand in her own defence, told jurors that the gun she and her husband purchased for their son was not her responsibility.

Mrs Crumbley is the first parent to go on trial for a mass shooting carried out by a child.

Her husband, James, is facing a separate trial on the same charges.

If found guilty, they each face up to 15 years in prison.

Their son is serving life in prison for killing four classmates at Oxford High School in Michigan in 2021. He was 15 years old at the time of the attack.

Mrs Crumbley, 45, took the stand on Thursday, the sixth day of the trial.

She was the first witness to testify for the defence after the prosecution presented 21 witnesses. Prosecutors will cross-examine her on Friday.

Mrs Crumbley said her husband brought their son to a gun store the day after Thanksgiving to buy a handgun for him as a gift.

She “didn’t feel comfortable” being responsible for safely storing the gun, which had a cable lock, she said.

“It was more his thing, so I let him handle that,” she said. “I didn’t feel comfortable putting the lock thing on it. I’d just rather not, and let him do it.”

A few days later, her husband removed the lock so she could take her son to a gun range, she said, describing it as a fun day.

The lock’s key was kept in a beer stein displayed in the kitchen, and her husband hid the gun in their bedroom. She said she did not know that her son knew where it was kept.

During the attacker’s trial last year, his attorneys argued he was neglected by his parents and suffered from mental illness. But he later said his parents did not know about his plans and that he was solely responsible.

His lawyers have said that he will invoke his right to remain silent if called to testify at his parents’ trials.

Mrs Crumbley’s legal team say she could not have predicted her son’s actions and she is being unfairly blamed.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors presented text messages and diary entries from her son that they said showed he was having hallucinations.

“I have zero help for my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot up the … school,” he wrote in one diary entry.

“I want help, but my parents don’t listen to me so I can’t get any help,” he wrote in another entry submitted by prosecutors.

One of prosecutors’ key arguments is that the parents did not help their child get the mental health support he needed.

Prosecutor Marc Keast told the jury last week: “Jennifer Crumbley didn’t pull the trigger that day, but she is responsible for those deaths.”

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On the day of the shooting, school officials found the boy with disturbing drawings.

His parents were called to school to review the drawings, but left after concluding the meeting early because they said they needed to return to work.

None of the adults checked the boy’s backpack, where he stored the gun, and he was sent back to class.

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