Watch CBS News

Michigan judge hopes sentences for James and Jennifer Crumbley will prevent future school shootings

Michigan judge hands down sentencing for parents of Oxford High School shooter
Michigan judge hands down sentencing for parents of Oxford High School shooter 01:57

(CBS DETROIT) - James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the Oxford High School shooter, were sentenced Tuesday for their roles in the Oxford High School shooting, and the judge hopes it will help prevent future school shootings.

The historic cases set a precedent for who can be held responsible for a mass school shooting as James and Jennifer Crumbley are the first parents in the U.S. to be convicted in a mass school shooting committed by their child.  

In handing down their sentences of 10 to 15 years in prison, Oakland County Judge Cheryl Matthews hopes that it will help prevent future school shootings. 

Before announcing the sentence, Matthews addressed the victims and their families.

"I can't and will not pretend to understand the pain the families are experiencing, but I did sit through these trials with you," said Matthews. I saw what you saw; I heard what you heard, so I can and will offer my deepest and most sincere condolences for your unfathomable and fathomable losses." 

READ: Everything that led up to the sentencing for parents of Oxford High School shooter

Matthews said that it is not the court system's role to make an example out of James and Jennifer Crumbley, but it is a goal for the sentencing to act as a deterrent.

"Parents are not expected to be psychic, but these convictions are not about the poor parenting," Matthews said. "These convictions confirm repeated acts or lack of acts that could've halted an oncoming runaway train."

The judge continued, "Opportunity knocked over and over again, louder and louder, and was ignored. No one answered, and these two people should have and sure didn't." 

Matthews said that because of James Crumbley," there was unfettered access to a gun or guns, as well as ammunition," in the family's home and that Jennifer Crumbley "glorified the use and possession of these weapons."

Michigan judge sentences James and Jennifer Crumbley to 10-15 years in Oxford High School shooting 07:52

Jennifer Crumbley's statement she made during her trial about not doing anything differently regarding her role as a parent leading up to the shooting was also addressed. 

Matthews said while she understands that might have been misinterpreted, "it did cut the victims deep."

"I've considered the possibility for rehabilitation, the need to protect society, the penalty appropriate to the conduct, and goal of deterring others from similar conduct."

Matthews said the advisory sentencing guidelines don't capture the impact of James and Jennifer Crumbley's acts in this tragedy.

"The guidelines do not take into account the complete lack of insight both defendants have for their behavior to this very day," said Matthews. "The guidelines do not account for the severity of the circumstances in this matter; the guidelines ignore the survivors."

Due to this, Matthews said an "out-of-guidelines" sentencing was more appropriate in their case. 

James and Jennifer Crumbley were each sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison with credit for 858 days. The parents and their agents also must not have any contact with the families of Justin Shilling, 17, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, and Hana St. Juliana, 14, the four students killed in the Oxford High School shooting on Nov. 30, 2021. 

READ: Jennifer Crumbley wants to live in attorney's guest house during her sentence, prosecutors say

Matthews said she would issue another ruling regarding contact between the parents and the shooter.

As James and Jennifer Crumbley will spend the next decade behind bars, their son has already begun serving a life sentence. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December 2023. 

During the sentencing hearing, Matthews clarified that James Crumbley and his son would not have any contact and would be kept separate if they were housed in the same facility. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.