(NewsNation) — Jennifer Crumbley, the first parent in America charged in a school shooting committed by their child, concluded her trial on Friday with passionate closing arguments from both the prosecution and defense. Deliberations by the jury are set to begin Monday.
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald portrayed Crumbley as selfish and negligent, while the defense, led by attorney Shannon Smith, asserted that the prosecution was desperate to find a scapegoat for the tragic events at Oxford High School. Smith declared the accusations against Jennifer as an attempt to wrongly blame an innocent mother.
As the jury enters deliberations, the community is left to ponder two distinct portrayals of Crumbley, each presented during the trial.
The prosecution depicted Crumbley as a selfish mother and unfaithful wife, alleging that she had multiple opportunities, including red flags leading up to the day of the shooting, to prevent her son from committing the heinous act.
According to the prosecution, Crumbley’s negligence played a pivotal role in the tragedy that claimed the lives of four teens at Oxford High School.
In contrast, the defense painted Crumbley as a “helicopter mom” who never anticipated the need to protect others from her son. The defense argued that convicting Crumbley of manslaughter would set a dangerous precedent and emphasized her role as the sole witness in making this point.
Smith characterized the trial as a witch hunt and urged the jury to deliver a not guilty verdict not only for Crumbley but for every mother doing their best in similar circumstances.
The prosecution relied on the testimony of school counselors who had scheduled a meeting with Crumbley on the morning of Nov. 30, 2021, just hours before the tragic incident. They pointed out Crumbley’s failure to disclose her son Ethan’s access to weapons and her lack of thorough checks on his phone, backpack, and mental well-being.
With a total of 21 witnesses, including police and friends who witnessed the shooting, the prosecution argued that Crumbley’s actions demonstrated gross negligence, leading to four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The jury now faces the high burden of proving gross negligence on Crumbley’s part, such as failing to exercise “reasonable care,” like securing the weapon, or demonstrating that the tragedy was not “reasonably foreseeable.” If found guilty, Crumbley could face up to 15 years in prison.
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Author: Elizabeth Prann