Judge weighs whether to hold simultaneous trials for Ethan Crumbley’s parents

In court on Wednesday, Oakland County Judge Cheryl Matthews reminded Jennifer Crumbley that she and her husband are co-defendants and no longer on the same team.  

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2022, photo, Jennifer and James Crumbley appear in court in Rochester Hills, Mich.

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2022, photo, Jennifer and James Crumbley appear in court in Rochester Hills, Mich.

An Oakland County judge is weighing whether to hold simultaneous, separate trials for the parents of the teen who killed students at Oxford High School.

Prosecutors charged Jennifer and James Crumbley with involuntary manslaughter, accusing them of ignoring their son’s plea for counseling and instead buying him the gun he used to kill four classmates at Oxford High two years ago.

Michigan Judge Kwame Rowe sentenced Ethan Crumbley to life in prison without the possibility of parole last week, following hours of heart-wrenching statements by survivors and families of the victims.

In court on Wednesday, Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews ruled that some of the evidence put forth by the prosecution — including Jennifer Crumbley’s alleged extramarital affairs and evidence of her son torturing baby birds — could not be used against her in the upcoming trial, calling it “irrelevant” to the case and adding that the bird evidence is likely to “inflame the passions of a jury,” and cause them to “undoubtedly judge Mrs. Crumbley for the heinous acts of her son.”

The couple requested separate trials last month after new evidence surfaced that attorneys said could pit the parents against each other. Which of their trials will come first, or whether the cases will be heard simultaneously, remains uncertain.

Judge Matthews reminded Jennifer Crumbley in court that she and her husband — now her “co-defendant” — are no longer on the same team.  

“Do you understand that both your attorney and your co-defendant’s attorney have indicated that there is now a conflict of interest between you and your co-defendant?” Matthews said, to which Jennifer Crumbley replied: “Yes.”

Attorneys estimate the trial for each parent will take between two and three weeks.

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  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.