'They get a deeper look at this case.' Hear from the producer on new Crumbley parent documentary

James and Jennifer Crumbley
Posted at 4:00 PM, Apr 16, 2024

(WXYZ) — A groundbreaking new documentary made by ABC News Studios is digging deep into the historic prosecution of James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the Oxford High School shooter.

The mass shooting that claimed four lives and left many injured, is now being examined in depth in the documentary airing April 18th on Hulu.

Updated photos: Oxford victims
Oxford victims

Now, we’re hearing from the filmmaker and Oxford families in response.

In one clip, the documentary shows an interview with Chief Asst. Prosecutor David Williams who says, “This isn’t about parents who let their kid watch violent movies or play violent video games. This is about parents who neglected their son and ignored cries for help. Then, bought him a gun.”

Another clip shows news coverage following the November 2021 tragedy, stating “The first parents in America to be charged in a school shooting. Involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of the shooter at Oxford High who killed 4 students and wounded others.”

VIDEO: Trailer: Sins of the Parents: The Crumbley Trials

TRAILER: 'Sins of the Parents: The Crumbley Trials'

We asked the executive producer of the film “Sins of the Parents: The Crumbley Trials” Cheryl Horner what stood out to her about the case.

“It was a novel approach to accountability,” says Horner.

In the documentary, we get to see more details in the cases that led to two guilty verdicts and maximum sentences.

VIDEO: James and Jennifer Crumbley sentenced to 10-15 years in Oxford High School shooting case

James and Jennifer Crumbley sentenced to 10-15 years in Oxford High School shooting

"They get a deeper look at this case and the people involved,” says Horner. "You’re walking into a community of people traumatized. You have to show great respect and sensitivity.”

The film also includes interviews with attorneys on both sides and families of victims.

“Every day, you don’t know if something will trigger emotions. Even a song on the radio,” says Craig Shilling, father of victim Justin Shilling.

Justin Shilling
Justin Shilling

Craig is featured in the film, and says raising awareness is important, and still each day remains a struggle. Prosecutor Karen McDonald is also shown in the documentary crafting her case and pouring thru key evidence shown to jurors.

Her office tells us she did not violate the judge’s gag order by taking part in the movie, and it was agreed it would only be released after the case was complete. Craig adds, “On a national level it’s an open book to your life. The missing piece is still accountability with the school.”

McDonald and her team are also seen telling the filmmaker: “The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s just being ignored. You don’t get to walk away from that. You just don’t. That’s a criminal act.”

Craig tells us he’s grateful to McDonald for her work.

“I’m really happy with their effort. Thousands of hours invested in the prosecution of these trials and I feel they did a good job,” says Craig.