Father of school shooter allegedly threatened prosecutor during recorded phone calls before conviction

James Crumbley, the father of school mass shooter Ethan Crumbley, reportedly threatened prosecutors before being convicted earlier this month.

As previously reported, on Nov. 30th, 2021, his then-15-year-old son opened fire at Oxford High School in Detroit, Michigan, killing four students and injuring seven people, including a teacher.

Following the shooting, it was learned that Crumbley had provided his son with access to the gun he’d used to commit the mass shooting. This was subsequently used to prosecute and convict him.

But before and during his trial, he issued threats against the prosecutor trying to convict him, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald.

“These alleged threats occurred in multiple phone calls dating to 2022 — with most occurring in 2023,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

The threats were reportedly made in jailhouse phone calls with his sister.

“Specifically, the now-convicted father went off to his sister about how he was going to make it his goal in life to destroy McDonald,” the Free Press reported, citing anonymous sources. “[T]he threats included James Crumbley allegedly saying things like she was going to hell soon, she better be scared and she was done.”

Speaking with Michigan station WXYZ earlier this week, McDonald revealed that she’d listened to the call.

“He actually said that he hoped I was listening. He hoped I was listening when he threatened me physically,” she said.

“One of the most disturbing threats was [in] January of 2024. That was the same month the first day of trial was set for one of the defendants. I consider that recent,” she added.


The threats were reportedly eventually brought up during Crumbley’s trial, with prosecutors requesting that his future jailhouse communications be limited.

The request was approved.

“James Crumbley’s access to a telephone and electronic messaging while in the Oakland County Jail has been limited due to threatening statements he made while on the phone and in electronic messages,” the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement to the Free Press.

“His access to a phone or electronic messaging is now limited to communication with his lawyer,” the office added.

In a separate statement issued this week to CNN, the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office said the sheriff’s office is investigating the threats and that they’ll be included in a memo during Crumbley’s April 9th sentencing.

“Those threats are serious, and they also reflect a lack of remorse and a continued refusal to take accountability for his part in the deaths of Hana, Madisyn, Tate, and Justin,” they said.

All this comes days after Crumbley was convicted.

“James Crumbley is not on trial for what his son did,” McDonald reportedly said in court during closing arguments. “James Crumbley is on trial for what he did and what he didn’t do.”

“Four children are dead because of the gross negligence of the shooter’s parents. In Michigan, a parent has a legal duty and James Crumbley did not meet that duty,” she added.

The ruling itself comes a month after his wife, Jennifer Crumbley, was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. According to legal experts, the rulings against the Crumbleys could have massive repercussions.

“It’s a watershed moment for families and parents when it comes to guns,” legal expert Kim Wehle told ABC News’ Stephanie Ramos. “What both of these verdicts is saying is that the jury of these parents’ peers are holding them accountable for not essentially implementing at home what across the country and many states our legislators are not willing to do.”

“But I think that in respect to Mr. Crumbley here, the defense argument was he just didn’t know, he didn’t know his son was this dangerous. And I suspect the jurors saw through that. That’s not ok for a parent to have no idea that your child is on the verge of this kind of mass murder,” she added.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference following the reading of the verdict, the parents of the victims of the Oxford shooting three years ago praised the outcome but stressed that more still needs to be done to keep schoolchildren safe.

“Our children are dying on a daily basis in mass murders and we do very little about it,” Steve St. Juliana, the father of Hana St. Juliana, said, adding that mass shootings are the “number one killer of our kids, folks.”

Vivek Saxena


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