'Ethan Crumbley may get a lighter sentence if he lays blame on his parents': Expert
The prosecution may amend the charges against the Crumbleys to include a higher level of culpability after they tried to evade the cops for 11 hours
A legal expert has claimed that alleged school shooter Ethan Crumbley could get himself a lighter sentence if he shifts the blame on his parents for giving him the gun used in the shooting as a Christmas present.
Matthew Barhoma, reputed criminal appeals and corporate lawyer in California, chimed in on the rare situation the Crumbleys are in as 15-year-old Ethan’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, have also been charged with manslaughter. The sophomore at Oxford High School in Michigan opened fire inside the campus on Tuesday, November 30, killing fellow students Tate Myre, 16; Hana St Julian, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Justin Shilling, also 17, and injuring seven others.
“It's very unfortunate to see yet another school shooting. However, this one cuts deeper as it appears to have been so preventable,” Barhoma told The Sun, insisting that Ethan’s parents and “anyone else in a position to help” could have dealt with the “deeper rooted issues” in the teen’s life. The day before the shooting, a teacher caught Ethan surfing the web for ammunition on his phone.
CNN obtains the only video of fugitive parents James and Jennifer Crumbley being arrested at their hideout. pic.twitter.com/RUMref7B8q— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) December 4, 2021
“If anything is to change, we need to first determine how he gained possession of that much firepower and how to eliminate the ability of teenagers to buy ammunition,” Barhoma continued, saying he understood why Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald sought charges against Ethan’s parents as there appears to be “some knowledge on the part of the parents.” He added, “First, you have exchanges between Ethan and his mother, where she is texting him, ‘Ethan. Don’t do it.’ Moreover, the father called 911 suspecting his son to be the shooter.”
Barhoma said the prosecution may amend the charges to include a higher level of culpability given the Crumbleys’ possible knowledge after they allegedly tried to evade the authorities for 11 hours. “If there is evidence that they had a deeper level of knowledge, you may even see them become more aiders and abetters than mere individuals with a duty to act with an omission of intervention.“ the attorney said.
Here's a more clear photo. Jennifer and James Crumbley, parents of the school shooter. Now on the run. Couple believed to be driving black 2021 Kia Seltos SUV with the Michigan license plate number DQG 5203— Mari Copeny (@LittleMissFlint) December 3, 2021
If you see them call 911 pic.twitter.com/FkGMsb0lJi
Speaking of the charges faced by Ethan for killing four students and wounding several others at his school, Barhoma said the teenager could be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Nonetheless, the lawyer said it's possible the alleged shooter gets a lighter sentence if he lays the blame on his parents. “After all, he is a 15-year-old child. Usually, no one exerts a greater influence on a child’s life than their parents,” he noted, adding that Ethan’s best possible defense is to “claim delusion or insanity for the upbringing his parents gave him.“
Officials revealed on Saturday, December 4, that Jennifer and James Crumbley were on suicide watch and were being checked on "multiple times an hour." Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said that prior to their arrest, the couple was last seen on Friday when a search warrant was executed at their home.
Jennifer and James Crumbley are now in the same Michigan jail as their accused school shooter son Ethan. pic.twitter.com/2URLzvrKeA— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) December 4, 2021
When asked about claims that the Crumbleys were hiding from the authorities, the sheriff said, "Where they were and how they were seems to support the position they were hiding." Police also revealed how the embattled parents withdrew $4,000 from an ATM and turned their cell phones off before being apprehended. Furthermore, they may have had help absconding from the authorities and those responsible may also face charges, officials said. The investigation continues.