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Parents of Michigan school shooter to be sentenced

The parents of a Michigan boy who shot and killed four classmates are set to be sentenced after juries convicted them of manslaughter, a rare case of parents being held responsible in a school shooting.

Jennifer and James Crumbley, who were tried separately this year, both face up to 15 years in prison in connection with the 2021 shooting their son, Ethan, carried out.

Ethan Crumbley was 15 at the time of the shooting at Oxford High School.

He pleaded guilty in 2022 to four counts of first-degree murder and other charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December.

Prosecutors in the trials of both Jennifer Crumbley, 46, and James Crumbley, 47, said the parents were criminally negligent for providing a gun for their child as a Christmas present and for ignoring signs his mental health had deteriorated and that he was potentially violent.

The parents’ defence teams argued, among other points, that it was impossible for the mother and the father to envision their son would carry out a mass shooting.

The Crumbleys were the first parents to be charged with manslaughter in a child’s school shooting (File image)

The United States has experienced a series of school shootings over the years, often carried out by current or former students.

The Crumbley parents were the first parents to be charged with manslaughter in a child’s school shooting.

The US had seen little precedent for the criminal charges the Crumbley parents faced.

Experts and gun safety advocates have said their trials were an important step in holding gun-owning parents more accountable for school violence carried out by their children.

Ethan received a semi-automatic handgun as a Christmas present just days before the incident (File image)

Studies by the US Department of Homeland Security have shown that around 75% of all school shooters obtained their weapons at home.

James Crumbley purchased the 9mm semi-automatic handgun as a Christmas present for Ethan just four days before the 3 November 2021 shooting.

On the morning of the incident, both of Ethan’s parents were summoned to their son’s school after teachers discovered violent messages and drawings on his schoolwork, prosecutors said during the trials.

The Crumbleys were told Ethan needed immediate counselling.

But prosecutors said the couple resisted, taking the boy home that day and did not search his backpack or ask him about the gun they knew he could access.

Ethan Crumbley was returned to class.

He later walked out of a bathroom with the gun and began firing, according to prosecutors.

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