If ever there was a case that merited criminal charges against the parents of a school shooter, this is it. Their conduct, as described by prosecutors, is the definition of recklessness and carelessness resulting in death. Under Michigan law, this constitutes involuntary murder.
Evidence shows that the Crumbleys ignored ominous warnings that their son, Ethan, was psychologically unstable and poised to commit violence. They refused demands by his school that Ethan receive professional counseling. They concealed from administrators that they had purchased for him a deadly weapon and had taken him to a firing range to practice shooting it.
They knew or should have known that their son was dangerous and posed a threat to others. That is the near-equivalent of aiding and abetting.
sin embargo, absent evidence that they intended the killing of others – which might otherwise qualify as accessory to murder – they can justifiably be charged with the lesser crime of manslaughter for contributing to the deaths. It is a rare move by prosecutors but thoroughly supported by the known facts in this case.
The parents were told that their son was drawing pictures in class of killing people and laughing about it. They were warned that Ethan was searching the internet for ammunition while at school. His mother’s response in a text message was cold and indifferent, “LOL…just next time, don’t get caught.”
In addition to buying Ethan a 9 mm Sig Sauer pistol just days before he fired at least 30 rounds in the hallways of his school, they failed to secure the gun from their 15-year-old son despite all the warning signs that he might use it to harm others at school.
The Crumbleys also took no precautionary steps to determine whether Ethan had brought the weapon to Oxford High on the very day they were summoned there for a conference to discuss his aberrant behavior.