Testimony on day 3 of Jennifer Crumbley trial includes first interview after the shooting

Posted at 8:09 AM, Jan 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 16:10:58-05

Correction: an earlier version of this story stated that the shooter could be heard saying "I love you" after an interview with deputies when it was actually James.

Testimony continued Monday as the trial for Jennifer Crumbley reaches its second week. Crumbley, the mother of the Oxford High School shooter, is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Examining day 3 of Jennifer Crumbley's trial with Court TV

At the start of the trial on Monday, Crumbley was quickly sworn in as her lawyer said they were willing to allow unredacted Facebook messages from 2021 between Crumbley and her husband, James, to be on the record. Previously, they had argued to have portions of the messages redacted.

Jennifer Crumbley & attorney agree to not redact messages

The first witness called to the stand on Monday was Kira Pennock, the 27-year-old who runs the barn that took care of the Crumbleys' horses.

She talked about her relationship with Jennifer Crumbley and how she knew them a few years prior to them boarding their horses with her.

Pennock said she would see Jennifer and James Crumbley two to three times a week, but that she rarely saw their son.

“There was not much talk about her son,” said Pennock, also mentioning that when she did talk about him, “there was nothing truly positive.”

Messages were also shown after the shooting, when Jennifer Crumbley was trying to sell her horses quickly.

Oxford High School counselor testifies in trial of Jennifer Crumbley

Before breaking for lunchShawn Hopkins, who worked as a counselor at Oxford High School, took the stand.

He talked about the mental health struggles he saw in kids in the fall of 2021 including depression, anxiety and suicide ideation. Hopkins spoke in length about what happened the morning leading up the shooting, including his being notified the shooter was watching a violent video in class and then later emailed a drawing the student had made that alarmed staff.

Hopkins detailed how he brought the shooter to his office to talk to him about what was going on. He said the shooter said he was struggling, his friend had left and that he recently had gotten into an argument with his parents about grades.

The counselor said after he looked at the drawing, he became concerned that the student might try to take his own life, particularly with him writing “the thoughts won’t stop help me.”

Hopkins testified he decided to call the shooter’s mom and ask her to come in.

After lunch, Hopkins returned to the stand and talked about the meeting he had with James and Jennifer Crumbley, saying that he wanted to make sure the shooter was getting support.

“I didn’t want him left alone at that point,” Hopkins said.

In cross-examination, Smith asked about the licensing required to become a school counselor and the process of obtaining that license. Hopkins broke down the training and education required.

She also asked about Hopkins’ past meetings with the shooter and any past communications he had with Jennifer for James Crumbley.

First interview with James and Jennifer Crumbley following Oxford High School shooting

The next person to take the stand was Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Joe Brian with the special investigations unit.

Brian was among the first to speak with James and Jennifer Crumbley around 2 p.m. on the day of the shooting. They played video from inside the interview room where the detectives asked questions about their son and what happened during the day before the shooting.

They also played a video of the parents meeting with their son after the interview with deputies. Jennifer Crumbley can be seen asking him, "Why? Why?" as they walked out. James could also be heard saying "I love you" repeatedly.

Around 3:30 p.m., the judge sent the jury home for the day as the prosecution and the defense had to go through different exhibits.

Prosecutors use texts in attempt to show shooter's mom ignored warning signs

On Friday, Edward Wagrowski, a former detective and computer crimes expert with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, took the stand.

He talked about the school's 90 surveillance cameras and said he helped identify the shooter, reviewing footage from hallways and backtracking.

The prosecution also spent more than an hour going through text and Facebook messages between Jennifer and James Crumbley, and between them and their son.

Text exchanges between the shooter and his parents depicted how he was seeing things and not feeling well.

“I cleaned until the clothes started flying off the shelf,” one text read.

In other messages to his friend, the shooter revealed that he was struggling.

“I need help,” he texted.

The questioning of Wagrowski continued into the afternoon, with prosecutors going over texts and deleted messages that Jennifer Crumbley sent to her boss including one saying "We're on the run again," before Jennifer's attorney Shannon Smith took over.

Smith pressed on how Jennifer and James Crumbley held text exchanges about if their son was home from school on certain days, their son having a headache and other issues that a mother and father would exchange on a normal basis.

Smith's questioning also focused on whether the information Wagrowski presented during his testimony should be interpreted as they were trying to avoid a freighting situation, rather than running from police.

Trial underway for Jennifer Crumbley, mother of Oxford High School shooter

Last Thursday, her trial began with opening statements from prosecutors and defense attorneys and four witnesses took the stand.

Witnesses on Thursday include Molly Darnell, a teacher who was shot at the high school, the school's assistant principal, the gun store manager who sold the weapon to the Crumbleys and a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The prosecution is trying to make the case that Crumbley was aware of her son's experience and access to guns, showing several videos of him at the gun range. Both she and the shooter posted about his 9mm gift on social media.