THE SMOKE SIGNAL

THE SMOKE SIGNAL

THE SMOKE SIGNAL

For the first time, a mother has been convicted for a crime their child committed

February 9, a landmark decision was made in a case against Jennifer Crumbly whose son killed four students in a school shooting in 2021. Crumbly is the first parent to ever have been convicted of involuntary manslaughter following her child’s actions. The verdict in this case marks a significant moment in the history of the American legal system. 

The prosecution argued against Crumbly on the basis of negligence, citing that she allowed her child to have a gun and ignored obvious warning signs. On the morning of the shooting both parents cut short a meeting about a disturbing drawing their son made. Afterwards, he was sent back to class and killed four students. Prosecutors also claimed that not informing the school of her son’s possession of a firearm led to the tragedy.

Many are concerned following the decision of the trial with such a momentous moment in the legal system potentially opening the floodgates for parents of other mass shooters to be convicted in a similar fashion. Crumbly, who was convicted of all four counts of involuntary manslaughter, could serve a maximum of sixty years in prison because of her son’s actions. Opponents of the court’s decision feel that it is unfair to imprison the parents regardless of their responsibility to watch for warning signs in their children.  

“I understand that she was not necessarily the best mother in the world, but this is not a crime,” said Stephen J. Morse, Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania. 

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It is important to note that James Crumbly, her husband, is going to be tried for the same case in March. 

The verdict of Crumbly’s trial could cause a potential shift in the way mass shootings are viewed in the American legal system. This is a landmark case likely to be referred to in the future.  

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Trevor Hamilton, Staff Writer
Trevor Hamilton is a seventeen-year-old Hart High Senior. This is his first year a part of The Smoke Signal. He is a staff writer.
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