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Trial underway for James Crumbley, father of Oxford High School shooter

Posted at 6:20 AM, Mar 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-07 23:00:06-05

The prosecution and defense both delivered opening statements Thursday morning in the trial for James Crumbley, the father of the Oxford High School shooter. He's charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

“That nightmare was preventable and it was foreseeable,” Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast told the jury.

Watch the prosecution's opening statement here:

Prosecution gives opening statement in trial for James Crumbley

The defense attorney argued that Crumbley did not know what his son was going to do. 

“James Crumbley was not aware that his son had access to that firearm,” defense attorney Mariell Lehman told the jury.

Watch the defense attorney's opening statement here:

Defense attorney Mariell Lehman gives opening statement in James Crumbley trial

The first person to take the stand was Molly Darnell, the teacher who was shot and injured. She testified about what happened on the day of the shooting and also showed her injuries from the shooting, getting emotional while recounting the day.

"I lock eyes with this person and I see some movement coming from the side of him, and I realize that he’s raising a gun to me … I remember thinking in my head, there’s no orange tip on that gun," she recounted.

Watch Darnell's testimony below:

Molly Darnell, teacher who was shot at Oxford High School, testifies at James Crumbley's trial

Next on the stand was Edward Wagrowski, a former detective with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. Watch the first part of his testimony below.

Edward Wagrowski, former detective, testifies in James Crumbley's trial

A jury was seated in his case on Wednesday, and it took less than two days to seat the jury. It consists of nine women and six men.

Watch Court TV's analysis of the first day of testimony:

Court TV analyzes first day of testimony in James Crumbley's trial

There are a lot of parallels between the trial of Crumbley and the trial of his wife, Jennifer, who was convicted on four counts of manslaughter last month. Both trials took two days to select jurors and ultimately both will have a group of mostly women determining their fate.

Thoughts surrounding gun ownership and parenting were some of the top questions from attorneys.

"We're still looking for accountability. It's understood the father is half part of parental accountability and responsibility," Craig Shilling, the father of one of the victims, Justin Shilling, told us.

Craig made it known he wants James Crumbley to have the same fate as Jennifer.

"I feel solid in that there was definitely gross negligence on behalf of both parents," he said.

The shooter pleaded guilty to the murders of four of his classmates and was sentenced in December. But since he is planning to appeal his life sentence, if he were to get on the stand and plead the Fifth, the judge said it would have triggered a mistrial in his mother's case.

Jennifer Crumbley’s trial received national attention, specifically from legal experts since the unprecedented charges against the parents could impact how future school shooting cases are handled by prosecutors.

Telephone access behind bars is being restricted to James Crumbley. He seemed visibly upset as prosecutors brought up an order to cut off his communication after testimony at his trial ended for the day.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office said he made threatening statements on the phone and in electronic messages. No other details were released.

The court discussion ended with an agreement that his phone and messaging access is now limited to communicating with his lawyer.

Jurors also heard the 911 call James Crumbley made as the tragedy unfolded on Nov. 30, 2021.