James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of Michigan shooter, sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison

Jennifer and James Crumbley, the first parents of a mass school shooter in the U.S. to be convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the attack, were sentenced Tuesday in a Michigan courtroom to 10 to 15 years in prison.

The sentence came after the court heard statements from the family members of Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17. The students were killed when the Crumbleys' son, Ethan, went on a shooting rampage at Oxford High School in Michigan on Nov. 30, 2021.

"You created all of this," Nicole Beausoleil, Baldwin's mother, said through tears. "You failed as parents. The punishment that you face will never be enough."

Beausoleil recalled the final hours of her daughter's life, comparing them with the Crumbleys' actions before and during the shooting. "When you texted 'Ethan don't do it,' I was texting Madisyn: 'I love you. Please call Mom,'" she said.

Reina St. Juliana, the sister of Hana, brought many to tears as she spoke of how her sister would never see her prom, graduation or birthdays.

"I never got to say goodbye," Reina said. "Hana was only 14 ... she took her last breath in a school she hadn't even been in for three months."

Jill Soave, mother of Justin Shilling, asked the judge to hand down the maximum sentence possible to both parents. "The ripple effects of both James' and Jennifer's failures to act have devastated us all," she said. "This tragedy was completely preventable."

Judge Cheryl Matthews addressed both parents before handing down the sentence, "Mr. Crumbley, it's clear to this court that because of you, there was unfettered access to a gun or guns, as well as ammunition in your home.

"Mrs. Crumbley, you glorified the use and possession of these weapons," she added.

Both parents will credited for time already spent in jail.

Matthews also barred the pair or their "agents" from any contact with the families of the four students. She said she would also rule on the parents' rights to contact their son.

Jennifer and James Crumbley also addressed the court ahead of their sentence.

"The dragging this has had on my heart and soul cannot be expressed in words, just as I know this is not going to ease the pain and suffering of the victims and their families," Jennifer Crumbley said.

Jennifer Crumbley used her statement to clarify her trial testimony when she said she would not have done anything differently leading up to the shooting. It was "completely misunderstood," she said Tuesday, adding that her son had seemed "so normal" and that she could not have foreseen the attack.

She said prosecutors tried to paint her and her husband as parents "so horrible, only a school or mass shooter could be bred from."

"We were good parents. We were the average family. We weren't perfect, but we loved our son and each other tremendously," Jennifer Crumbley said.

James Crumbley apologized to the families during his statement.

"I cannot express how much I wish I had known what was going on with him and what was going to happen, because I absolutely would have done a lot of things differently," he said.

Prosecutors asked that each parent be given 10 to 15 years in prison after separate juries found them each guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter earlier this year. Their son, 15 at the time of the shooting, is serving a life sentence for the murders.

The parents have shown no remorse for their actions, prosecutors told Matthews in a sentencing memo. They told the juries that the Crumbleys bought their son the gun he used and ignored troubling signs about his mental health.

Legal experts have said the case, which drew national attention, could influence how society views parents' culpability when their children access guns and cause harm with them. Whether the outcome encourages prosecutors to bring charges against parents going forward remains to be seen.

Why were the Crumbleys culpable in their son's crimes?

The Crumbleys' son went on a rampage in the halls of Oxford High School hours after his parents were called to the school by counselors to discuss concerns over disturbing drawings he had done on a math assignment. Prosecutors said the parents didn't tell school officials their son had access to guns in the home and left him at school that day.

James Crumbley purchased the gun used in the shooting, and in a post on social media Jennifer Crumbley said it was a Christmas present for the boy. The prosecution said the parents could have prevented the shooting if they had taken ordinary care to secure the gun and taken action when it was clear their son was having severe mental health struggles.

The prosecution cited messages the teen sent months before the shooting to his mother that said he saw a "demon" in their house and that clothes were flying around. He also texted a friend that he had "paranoia" and was hearing voices. In a journal, he wrote: "I have zero HELP for my mental problems and it's causing me to shoot up" the school.

The Crumbleys also tried to flee law enforcement when it became clear they would face charges, prosecutors said.

Defense attorneys said the parents never foresaw their son's actions. Jennifer Crumbley portrayed herself as an attentive mother when she took the stand in her own defense, and James Crumbley's lawyer said that the gun didn't really belong to the son, that the father properly secured the gun and that he didn't allow his son to use it unsupervised. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, the jury foreman in James Crumbley's trial said storage of the gun was the key testimony that drove him to convict.

Parents asked for house arrest, time served

James Crumbley has asked to be sentenced to time already served since his arrest in December 2021, according to the prosecutors' sentencing memo. Jennifer Crumbley hoped to serve out a sentence on house arrest while living in her lawyer's guest house.

Prosecutors rejected the requests in the memo to the judge, saying neither had shown remorse for their roles in the deaths of the four children. James Crumbley also was accused of threatening Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald in a jail phone conversation, Keast said, showing his "chilling lack of remorse."

Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of the Oxford High School gunman, in court together on Dec. 14, 2021, before their cases were separated for trial on involuntary manslaughter charges.
Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of the Oxford High School gunman, in court together on Dec. 14, 2021, before their cases were separated for trial on involuntary manslaughter charges.

"Such a proposed sentence is a slap in the face to the severity of tragedy caused by (Jennifer Crumbley's) gross negligence, the victims and their families," Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Marc Keast wrote of the mother's request in a sentencing memo.

Each involuntary manslaughter count carries up to 15 years in prison, though typically such sentences are handed down concurrently, not consecutively. The judge also has the discretion to go above or below the state advisory guidelines, which recommended a sentencing range of 43 to 86 months − or a maximum of about seven years. The state guideline is advisory, based on post-conviction interviews and facts of the case.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Crumbley sentencing: Michigan mass shooter's parents get prison time