Prosecutors attempted to show red flags the Crumbleys missed in son Ethan leading up to the deadly shooting at Oxford High School.
ROCHESTER HILLS, MICHIGAN — Prosecutors unveiled the first glimpse of evidence they intend to use against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Tuesday, accusing the couple of ignoring disturbing warning signs from their son in the run-up to the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School.
Several witnesses painted Jennifer as a woman who was more concerned with her own needs than her son’s, as prosecutors released text messages showing Jennifer ignoring Ethan’s fear of a demon in the house.
Detective Edward Wagrowski read aloud text messages sent by Ethan to his mom on March 9, when he was alone at home.
“There’s someone in the house I think,” Ethan texted his mom. “Someone walked into the bathroom and flushed the toilet and left the light on. And I thought it was you but when I came out there was no one home. There’s no one in the house tho. Dude my door just slammed. Maybe it’s just my paranoia. But when are you going to get home.”
Wagrowski testified that Jennifer did not respond to those text messages on March 9 and that photos showed her horseback riding at the time.
On March 17, Ethan texted his mother again while he was alone at home, according to Wagrowski.
“Ok the house is now haunted,” Ethan texted his mom. “I got some videos. And a picture of the demon. Can you at least text back?”
Jennifer did not respond to Ethan on March 17, according to Wagrowski, because she was horseback riding. Wagrowski claims she did text husband James Crumbley on March 19 to discuss Ethan’s behavior.
“He woke up looking like he had WAY too much to drink last night complaining about a headache,” James texted Jennifer after Jennifer asked him if Ethan was awake. “Well, he was really worked up and out of control so I can see why,” Jennifer texted back.
The next day, Wagrowski said that Ethan texted his mom, “I finished picking up the room. I cleaned until the clothes started flying off the shelf. This stuff only happens when I’m home alone. I picked the clothes back up tho.”
During the hearing, Wagrowski also revealed text messages between Jennifer and Ethan about Ethan’s gun a day before the shooting, in which Jennifer asked Ethan if he showed school officials a “pic of your new gun,” to which Ethan replied, “NO I didn’t show them the pic, my god.”
Those texts were exchanged after Jennifer received a voicemail from a school administrator about a concerned teacher after she caught Ethan searching for ammunition on his phone, according to Wagrowski. While some of the messages had previously been released, some of those read aloud in court by Wagrowski were new.
Jennifer texted Ethan about looking up bullets while in school, in which Ethan replied he had got into trouble for that, but it was “completely harmless.” Ethan then texted his mom, “This is nothing I should get in trouble about,” and Jennifer replied, “You’re not they left me a voicemail.” Her text to her son included emojis of a woman covering her face.
Ethan then asked his mom if he could listen to the voicemail when he got home, and Jennifer replied “Ok I saved it.”
Authorities said Ethan opened fire in the high school the next day, killing four students and wounding seven others. As an adult, he faces 24 charges, including four counts of premeditated murder and terrorism. In connection with the shooting, Jennifer and James Crumbley were each charged with four counts of manslaughter.