PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the Oxford High School shooter who is facing four charges of involuntary manslaughter, took the stand on the sixth day of her trial.
The prosecution rested just after lunch and then Crumbley took the stand in her own defense, testifying for more than two hours.
The first person to take the stand on Thursday was Timothy Willis, a detective lieutenant with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. He talked about his investigation and arriving on scene during the shooting. He also read through autopsy protocols for the four students who were killed – Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre, Justin Shilling and Madisyn Baldwin.
On the stand, Willis also opened up the shooter's journal that was found in his backpack, reading through different pages, including one that said "my parents won't listen to me about help or therapist," as well as the shooter's intention to get a handgun and his desire to shoot up the school.
They also played surveillance video inside the school during the shooting. Crumbley, her attorney, Willis and others got emotional as they played the video. After it was played, the court took a short break and returned around 10 a.m.
There was a debate as the defense attempted to impeach the shooter's statements through the officer, with attorney Shannon Smith referencing the fact that she could not call the shooter as a witness. Case law says that a witness is not allowed to be put in front of a jury if they plan to plead the Fifth Amendment, and the shooter's attorneys have indicated the shooter will plead the fifth.
CRUMBLEY SPEAKS ON AFFAIR, SCHOOL MEETING AND SON'S MENTAL HEALTH
Once Crumbley took the stand, defense questions have focused on rebutting the prosecution's arguments that Crumbley was not focused on her son. She has testified that they played games as a family and would spend time together. The testimony included pictures from Facebook that show family vacations, which often include an unidentified friend of Jennifer's son.
"I didn't imagine my son going to school and shooting," she said.
She testified that her affair, which was put on the record in court on Wednesday, did not take time away from her being a mother.
"Because when I met with Brian, it was in the mornings. On his way home from the station, he would pass my work. And so the time I was coming to work, we would meet, we would meet at the Costco parking lot and that was it. He would go about his day. I would go about mine," Crumbley said.
Brian Meloche, a friend of Crumbley who has known her since high school.
Crumbley told the court that her husband was responsible for storing the gun.
"I just didn't feel comfortable being in charge of that. It was more of his thing, so I let him handle that," she said.
Crumbley also testified about seeing her son's drawings and about the meeting she and her husband had with school officials less than three hours before the shooting.
She went on to say that the school did not express that her son was a threat and gave him the option to stay at school, adding that she did not refuse to take him home.
"Of course, I look back after all of this happened. I've asked myself if I would have done anything differently — I wouldn't have," she said, adding that she would've changed what happened if she could have.
"I wish he would have killed us instead."
More text messages between her and the shooter were shown in court. The shooter told his mother he was seeing things including demons. She said she didn't think much of it because the year prior, he would pull pranks.
"He's been convinced our house has been haunted since 2015. It was built in 1920," Crumbley said. "Around that time frame, him and his friend would go down into the basement and play an Ouija board," Crumbley said. "So, they thought we had a house ghost."
She said she recalls her son saying doors in the house would slam and silverware would fly across the room.
Smith asked Crumbley about her son's mental health including if she thought he needed treatment. She also denied that her son asked for it.
"No. I mean, there's a couple of times where (my son) would express anxiety... but not to a level where I felt he needed to go see a psychiatrist," Crumbley said.
On Friday, prosecutor's will have have the change to cross-examine Crumbley.
WHAT HAPPENED WEDNESDAY
Before breaking for lunch on Wednesday, the prosecution said it was nearing the end of its case, however, several hours of testimony from one witness may have delayed that.
On Wednesday, we heard testimony from Sam Marzban, a detective lieutenant with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office's city of Pontiac detective bureau. Prosecutors showed a photo of the shooter's phone with a text message from Jennifer Crumbley that said "Ethan don't do it" and another one from James that said "Ethan call me now." Marzban said the texts were sent around 2 p.m., which was about an hour after the shooting.
Next on the stand was David Hendrick, who worked for the Oakland County Sheriff's Office on the day of the shooting. He recently retired as a detective sergeant as part of the fugitive apprehension team. He was tasked with finding James and Jennifer Crumbley after the shooting. A search warrant for their arrests was signed Dec. 3, 2021.
Hendrick detailed looking at several hotels, family members' residences and finding a vehicle registered to the Crumbleys abandoned in Auburn Hills at a hotel. It appeared the prosecution was looking to show the Crumbleys intended to run following the shooting.
Luke Kirtley, who owns a coffee roasting company in the building was also on the stand, as was Detroit police Cpl. David Shaw, who was part of the team that searched the building.
Following lunch, there was a back-and-forth as Brian Meloche, a friend of Jennifer's, took the stand. They went through pages and pages of Facebook messages between the two that showed what Jennifer was saying to him after the shooting. The affair between Jennifer and Meloche was also put on the record.
The last witness to testify on Wednesday was William Creer, a forensic technician with the city of Detroit. He and the prosecution made it clear that he is not a police officer but investigates crime scenes. He said he arrived to the warehouse around 2:40 a.m., after the couple was arrested.
Creer said he and his partner took pictures and collected evidence at the warehouse where the Crumbleys were found. The prosecutor showed Creer pictures that were taken, asking him what they found.
Photographs taken at the warehouse showed the couple's vehicle and cigarette butts outside. Inside, pictures showed several items such as a mattress, clothes, bags, food and cups. Several receipts were shown as well as $6,617 in cash.
There were also multiple cell phones and bottles of Adderall and Xanax that were prescribed to Jennifer Crumbley.
Throughout the trial, the prosecution has called more than a dozen witnesses