(TSTIME) — Michigan prosecutors say the parents of accused Oxford High School gunman Ethan Crumbley exposed him to years of “chaotic, toxic conflict” and left him in an unstable home, often with little supervision, forcing a path to violence was created.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday, prosecutors argued that evidence of Jennifer and James Crumbley’s personal problems, including an extramarital affair and substance abuse, should be introduced at their trial. The couple’s lawyers have called the evidence “excessive.”
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The parents were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after their teenage son allegedly shot dead four students and injured seven other people at Oxford High School in November.
Prosecutors argued that Jennifer and James Crumbley “played a much bigger role than just buying a gun for their son,” and that there were many things the parents could have done other than lock the gun, which had caused the tragedy. can occur. They also argued that the parents had “every reason” to know their son was dangerous.
“What the evidence will actually show is that these defendants have exposed their son to years of chaotic, toxic conflict, which is a known risk factor for entering the road to violence,” the filing said. “The study paints a clear picture of parents who were not only in constant conflict, or who simply exposed their son to conflict, but who actively involved him in their conflict…”
Investigators interviewed witnesses from across the country who had been in contact with the family while Ethan was in kindergarten, the file shows. Neighbors and others told the researchers that the parents would fight and drink constantly, often leaving Ethan unsupervised.
Evidence also shows that the parents spent thousands of dollars on alcohol and equine care and negligible amounts on medical care, the filing said. Ethan felt the financial stress and wrote about it in his diary, prosecutors said.
“My grades are falling, my parents hate each other, we have no money, I have no help whatsoever for my mental problems and it is causing me to blow up school,” a journal says.
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Prosecutors also allege that when Ethan was six, his mother took him to stay overnight with a person she was having an affair with and left him on the couch. When he was older, prosecutors said, Jennifer and James Crumbley would ask their son to investigate possible infidelity or monitor one of the parents, involving him in their personal problems.
When Ethan went through bad sleep or insomnia, “he complained that he saw demons and asked for help,” but his parents ignored him, prosecutors said.
“Their son deteriorated before their eyes; he slept only a few hours a night — he stayed up very late at night while the suspects drank, argued and slept just a few feet away in a bedroom that shared a wall with the shooter’s room,” prosecutors said.
Witnesses also told the researchers that the parents were “routinely drunk” in front of Ethan and that marijuana was commonly used in the home, according to the filing, and that the parents spent nearly $4,000 at a nearby liquor store in 2021 alone.
Prosecutors emphasized in their file that they are asking for evidence of Ethan’s exposure to infidelity, substance abuse, arguments and financial stress to be admitted to show the stressful environment created by Crumbley’s parents in the days and years before the deadly shooting. .
TSTIME asked Jennifer and James Crumbley’s attorneys for comment on the accusations from prosecutors, but received no immediate response.
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