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James Crumbley could have foreseen his son's massacre.

Top StoriesJames Crumbley could have foreseen his son's massacre.

In a case that could put Michigan back in the history books, jurors began deliberations Wednesday in the case of James Crumbley, who is accused of causing the deaths of four students murdered by his son in the Oxford High School mass shooting. His wife was the first parent in America to be held criminally responsible for a mass school shooting carried out by their child when she was convicted last month. The first set of parents held to such standards if the dad is found guilty would be the Crumbleys. The prosecution and defense hammered away at the same themes in their closing arguments, with one side maintaining that Crumbley was a careless, negligent father who bought a troubled son a gun and failed to secure it, while the other side maintained the dad never saw any signs. Karen McDonald, the Oakland County prosecutor, urged the jury to hold Crumbley accountable for failing to take "tragically small measures" that could have saved the lives of four children. She said that Crumbley could have taken his son home from school when he showed signs of desperation, or put a cable lock on the gun his son sneaked out of the home. She said that James Crumbley did nothing.

The man who was sentenced to life in prison without parole was 15 years old at the time. He killed four people and wounded six others in a rampage on Nov. 30, 2021. McDonald said that the father failed in his duty to protect his son. She pointed her finger at the courtroom and said that they matter. The kids wouldn't have been killed in that school if James Crumbley had taken responsibility for his kid who was in trouble and gone home. McDonald told the jury to focus on what Crumbley did not do in the days, weeks, and months before his son shot up his school. "James is not on trial for what his son did, he is on trial for what he did and didn't do," said McDonald. The charges are about hindsight.

Mariell Lehman began her closing argument by acknowledging the terrible things that happened inside Oxford High School. Lehman said that this case was not about what happened inside Oxford High School. She said that no one who met with the shooter in the hours before the massacre could have predicted what would happen. She said that the school counselor told her that it was easy to look at things in hindsight. She said that the school officials and the boy's father didn't think he was a danger. She said that there was no evidence that James Crumley knew his son was a danger. Lehman said that the prosecution wants you to find out that James knew his son was a danger to others. "He had no idea what his son was going to do," Lehman said. How many times does this kid have to say 'help me'? McDonald became incensed when she focused the jury's attention on the troubling drawing the shooter made on his math sheet the morning of the shooting. The words "The thoughts won't stop" and a gun are in the picture. The boy's parents were summoned to the school over the drawing, but they went back to their jobs after meeting with the dean of students and the school's counselor. The student was allowed to return to class after the school officials concluded he was not a threat. McDonald argued that the tragedy could have been avoided if James Crumbley had taken his son home more seriously. McDonald argued that the shooter had asked for help many times, but no one did anything. McDonald asked jurors to pay attention to what the dad did when he saw the words "Help me" on his sheet of paper. "Use common sense," McDonald said. It doesn't make sense to say that someone didn't know he needed help when he saw the page. Lehman said that the professionals at school wanted the boy to see someone so that his sadness wouldn't get worse. She said the school officials said they would follow up in 48 hours. She said that Crumbley drove past his house four times while DoorDashing, but never stopped to check for a gun after seeing his son's disturbing note. Lehman said that he didn't know what his son was planning. He didn't know that his son had gained access to those guns or that he didn't know where the guns were. Lehman asked the jury to consider James Crumbley's comments to the police that his son was a perfect child. She told the jury to consider the testimony of the assistant principal who encountered the shooter, even if they had a question about the father's opinion of his son. She realized that it was James' son when the shooter got closer. Lehman said the assistant principal also called the boy a sweet kid. Lehman urged the jury to follow the law when he told them where the gun was originally located and shared details about his son's life. Lehman said that James wished we would have taken him home. Lehman said that James' son wasn't aware of the location in the bedroom. Lehman urged the jury to remember the testimony of the assistant principal, and to consider what she thought when the shooter got close to her. Lehman told the jurors that none of the witnesses told them that James knew what his son was going to do.

The journal.

McDonald mentioned that the teen wrote in his journal that he was "begging" his dad for a gun and eventually got it. She said that he had access to the gun and the gun was fired in the school. She argued that the shooter had no help for his mental problems and it was causing him to shoot up the school. "My parents won't listen to me about help or a therapist, so I can't get help." She repeated a text the shooter sent to his friend in which he wrote, "I actually asked my dad to take me to the doctor the other day, and he just gave me some pills and said to'suck it up'."

Lehman urged the jury to remember another excerpt in the journal, which said "I will have to find where my dad hid my 9mm before I can shoot up the school." Lehman told the jury to focus on what the prosecution didn't show, and that James Crumbley didn't know what his son was writing in his journal. If James' son gained access to his firearms, the prosecution would have told you. She said that it can be your reasonable doubt because James didn't know. Lehman asked the jury to remember the testimony of a federal agent who said that guns can be stored in a variety of ways. You didn't see that because it isn't true, James didn't know. She told jurors that the Oxford school shooting has devastated communities, and that the problem of gun violence in America is also a problem. She stressed that the charges and allegations against James Crumbley were based on assumptions and hindsight.

Lehman said that the prosecution wanted you to find that James acted negligently or that he owed a duty to others despite having no information at the time. McDonald had the last word with the jury because the prosecution had the burden of proof, and she focused on "tragically small things" that she believes could have been prevented. McDonald showed jurors how easy it is to put a cable lock on a gun. It took less than 10 seconds for McDonald to install the lock. She said that it was not difficult to conclude that a 15-year-old who spends a lot of time home alone could not find the weapon. The case isn't about guns, it's about foreseeability and that's what I had to prove. She said that this case isn't inconsistent with that, and that they are not responsible for everything their kids do. She said that a parent was grossly negligent and robbed their children of their young lives.com.

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