(NEW YORK) — Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, testified she and her husband often argued with their son about missing school assignments and said her husband struggled to keep a job as her manslaughter trial continued Thursday with her taking the stand in her own defense.
Jennifer Crumbley and her husband, James Crumbley, are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the school shooting, which was carried out by their then-15-year-old son Ethan. James Crumbley is being tried in a separate trial in March.
Ethan Crumbley has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing four students and injuring seven others in November 2021.
One day after Brian Meloche, the man with whom Jennifer was having an affair, took the stand, she admitted to the relationship in her own testimony.
She told the jury that Meloche was a long-time friend who was also a part of the horse community; Jennifer was a regular rider, with her texts to her husband from the horse farm featuring earlier in testimony. She said she saw Meloche an average of once a week and the affair lasted about six months.
Jennifer Crumbley testified that she believes the affair did not cause her to neglect her son in any way, saying the two met in the mornings while her son was at school.
She testified Thursday that she cared about her job and said she enjoyed her work.
Earlier, prosecutors and her defense attorney, Shannon Smith, clashed over admitting evidence Smith previously sought to suppress.
The two sides were at odds over admitting excepts from Ethan Crumbley’s journal, including information about him torturing birds.
The evidence was presented during testimony from Oakland County Sheriff’s Detective Lt. Timothy Willis about what police found in Crumbley’s backpack after the shooting. The journal was found in his backpack, along with roughly 90 loose papers with school assignments, 50 of which the shooter had drawn guns on.
Willis testified there were 22 pages of written information in the journal, all of which referenced a school shooting.
Ethan Crumbley wrote in an entry apparently from before the shooting that he planned to shoot up his school the next day.
“I want to shoot up the school so f—— badly,” one of the excerpts said. “Soon I am going to buy a 9 mm pistol.”
“I’m about to shoot up the school and spend the rest of my life in prison,” the shooter wrote in another excerpt.
In other excerpts, the shooter appeared to be writing about wanting help.
“I want help but my parents don’t listen to me so I can’t get any help,” the shooter wrote.
Police also had concerns on the day of the shooting that there were secondary devices or bombs at other locations around the school, Willis testified.
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