Witnesses testify in Crumbleys’ preliminary exam

Prosecutors begin to lay out case against James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the alleged Oxford High School shooter.

5:10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8: This story has been updated with the date of the next court appearance and testimony from Amanda Collard.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of the Oxford High School student accused of killing four classmates last year, appeared in court Tuesday for their preliminary examination.  It’s a chance for prosecution to lay out witnesses and evidence in the legal case against the couple.

Both James and Jennifer are facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of making a gun accessible to their 15-year-old son and failing to intervene when he showed warning signs of mental distress at home and at school. The sophomore has been charged as an adult with murder and terrorism. His lawyers filed a notice of an insanity defense, which will likely freeze his case while experts examine him.

On Tuesday, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald questioned some of Jennifer Crumbley’s colleagues. One of the witnesses who testified Tuesday is Andrew Smith, the chief operating officer of a real estate company and Jennifer’s supervisor from work.  McDonald questioned Smith over a text conversation he had with Jennifer, the company’s marketing director, on the day of the shooting.

“And what does it say?” McDonald asked.

“OMG Andy he’s going to kill himself, he must be the shooter,” Smith said.

“And then the next text?”

“I need a lawyer, at substation with police.”

“And then what else?”

“Ethan did it.”

Amanda Collard, Jennifer Crumbley’s former co-worker, was questioned about Jennifer showing her the violent drawing her son made on the morning of the shooting.

“I said she should’ve brought him home,” Collard said.

“And why did you say that?” McDonald said.

“I felt it was a disturbing photo and I felt the child needed to be around family,” Collard responded.

Collard says Jennifer Crumbley regularly talked about extramarital affairs that both she and her husband were having.

Kira Pennock works at the stable where the Crumbleys kept their horses.  McDonald questioned Pennock about how Jennifer talked about her son.

“She thought that it was weird that he wasn’t out doing things like a normal kid,” Pennock testified.

When asked if Jennifer called her son weird, Pennock answered yes.

Jennifer Crumbley shared the violent drawing her son doodled in class the day of the shooting to Pennock and at least two other people.

The Crumbleys’ preliminary examination hearing will resume on Feb. 24.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Alex McLenon
    Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.