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Mother of Mich. School Shooter Takes Stand at Her Manslaughter Trial, Wishes He Had 'Killed Us Instead'

Jennifer Crumbley testified in her own defense Thursday

<p>Bill Pugliano/Getty Images</p> Jennifer Crumbley

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Jennifer Crumbley

Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of convicted Michigan high school shooter Ethan Crumbley, took the stand in her involuntary manslaughter trial this week after the prosecution rested its case, according to several reports.

“I wish he would've killed us instead,” Crumbley said, referring to herself and her husband James, when asked about wishing if anything had gone differently, according to reports from the Detroit News, NBC News and CNN.

Both Jennifer and James Crumbley were charged with involuntary manslaughter after their son admitted to killing four students at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., in Nov. 2021 and injuring seven people, including a teacher. The victims were identified as Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling, 17, and Madisyn Baldwin, 17.

<p>Hana St. Juliana/Instagram; Tate Myre/Twitter; Kevin Shilling/GoFundMe; Jennifer Graves Mosqueda/GoFundMe</p> Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre, Justin Shilling, Madisyn Baldwin

Hana St. Juliana/Instagram; Tate Myre/Twitter; Kevin Shilling/GoFundMe; Jennifer Graves Mosqueda/GoFundMe

Hana St. Juliana, Tate Myre, Justin Shilling, Madisyn Baldwin
<p>Scott Olson/Getty Images</p> Oxford memorial

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Oxford memorial

Since Jennifer and James were charged, prosecutors have claimed that both parents could have done more to prevent the shooting. Jennifer’s trial began last week, while James will face a jury in March.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday, the same day Jennifer took the stand in her own defense.

Questioned by her attorney Shannon Smith, Jennifer told the court her family had lost “everything,” NBC reported, though she said she didn’t want to describe herself as a victim “because I do not want to disrespect the families that truly are the victims in this.”

Related: Mich. School Shooter's Mother, Now on Trial for Manslaughter, Asked Him 'Why? Why?' Hours After Attack

Jennifer was also asked if she would have done anything differently before the shooting, the outlets reported.

The gun the shooter used during the shooting was purchased for him by his parents as an early Christmas present just days before.

During her testimony, though, Jennifer claimed that guns were not really her interest and that her husband was the one responsible for storing guns in the house.

“I just didn’t really feel comfortable just being in charge of that,” she said in a broadcast of her testimony, posted by WXYZ. “It was more [James’] thing so I let him handle that.”

<p>JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images</p> James Crumbley

JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

James Crumbley

During opening statements, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast said Jennifer was "given the opportunity to prevent” the shooting, referring to a meeting that morning between school officials and both parents.

The parents were notified after the school saw a drawing of a gun the shooter made on a math worksheet, according to the prosecution. But the meeting ended abruptly, Keast said, and Jennifer declined to bring her son home.

But in her testimony, Jennifer says that while her son was stressed about his future after high school, she never believed it had risen to the level of seeing “a psychiatrist or mental health professional right away,” NBC reported.

Another notable moment from the testimony came when Jennifer was asked about messages she had sent to Brian Meloche, a firefighter who previously testified that she had engaged in an extramarital affair with him.

Related: Jennifer Crumbley, Mother of Oxford High School Shooter, Goes on Trial for Involuntary Manslaughter

In the messages, CNN reported, Jennifer wrote after the shooting that she “failed as a parent.”

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When asked about the messages by her attorney, Jennifer said her view on the situation had changed.

“I don’t think I’m a failure as a parent,” she said. “But at the time I guess I didn’t see, I felt bad that Ethan was sad at those things and I guess, I don’t know, I felt like I failed somewhere.”

<p>Oakland County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images</p> Jennifer Crumbley

Oakland County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Jennifer Crumbley

Her attorney followed up by asking if she had reason to believe her son was a danger to anyone else at the time of the shooting.

"No, as a parent you spend your whole life trying to protect your child from other dangers,” Jennifer said. “You never would think you have to protect your child from harming somebody else. That’s what blew my mind.”

In December, the shooter was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to 24 charges, including terrorism, in 2022.  

Jennifer will face cross-examination on the stand Friday.

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