Documentary gives insight on Crumbley prosecutors' thoughts before, during parents' trial

Kara Berg, The Detroit News on

Published in Entertainment News

While the documentary primarily focused on prosecutors and trial footage, reporters did talk to Steve St. Juliana, Hana's father; Craig Shilling, Justin's father; and Meghan Gregory, Keegan Gregory's mother. Keegan was not shot but was in the bathroom with Justin when he was killed.

The documentary featured brief comments from James' attorney, Mariell Lehman, but it primarily focused on the prosecution. Jennifer's attorney, Shannon Smith, is shown in court but was not interviewed.

"I think that James Crumbley was made out to be someone that he's not," Lehman said. "The morning of the shooting, he was a sophomore in high school's father. By 1:30 that afternoon he was the father of a school shooter. And by Dec. 3, he was a monster. And I think that theme carried throughout the prosecution in this case."

The narrator of the documentary never says the shooter's name. The only person who identifies him is Oxford High School Assistant Principal Kristy Gibson-Marshall, who testified at both trials.

Choosing to prosecute the parents

Keast said one of the first questions McDonald asked after the shooting was where the shooter got the gun. The shooter said during his plea hearing that the gun was not locked away.


McDonald said they knew the Crumbleys were called to the school the morning of Nov. 30, 2021, for a meeting with a counselor, the dean of students and their son after a teacher found he had drawn concerning pictures and statements on a math worksheet.

They knew about the texts from Jennifer to the shooter after he got caught looking up bullets on his phone in class: "Lol. I'm not mad. You have to learn not to get caught."

She said when police presented her office with their case against the shooter, she asked them about the parents. They learned more information as the week went on, and James' 911 call and entries in the shooter's journal stuck out, she said.

"Everything else we learned just made it worse," McDonald said.


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