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Montague to WILX: Jennifer and James Crumbley case could set new legal precedent for future cases of parental neglect

For the first time ever, a school shooter’s parents will be charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with their child’s crime. In an interview with WILX in Lansing, Levine & Levine Criminal Defense Attorney Sarissa Montague said the Jennifer and James Crumbley cases are unique because prosecutors are trying to show the parents’ guilt by giving evidence of what they failed to do instead of what they did do.

In 2021, Ethan Crumbley was taken to the Oxford High School office for a meeting with administrators and his parents regarding behavioral concerns. After both Jennifer and James Crumbley refused to take their child home, Ethan was sent back into the school, where he would carry out a mass shooting that claimed the lives of four students and injured several others. At that time, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said that she would charge both parents with involuntary manslaughter due to the neglect they displayed that led to the violent crime.

“He had access to it, and all of this could have been prevented if he hadn’t had access or if just one of those parents had said, I am concerned about what I am seeing right now, and I also want you to know we just bought him a gun for Christmas,” McDonald said in 2021. “That didn’t happen.”

Montague, who is not connected to the case, told WILX that the case against Jennifer and James Crumbley could set a new legal precedent for future cases of parental neglect.

“Any time there is something new in the law when something changes, it always has the possibilities of affecting cases as we go forward,” Montague said in her interview.

Watch the full interview, here.

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