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

Kara Berg, The Detroit News on

Published in Entertainment News

Keast said McDonald asked everyone in the room during a strategy session before the Crumbleys were charged about their thoughts on the parents' case but said flat out they would be charging them.

"(She said) 'I'm telling you right now we're charging the parents.' And then she walked out," Keast said.

Prosecution strategy sessions

It shows strategy meetings with groups of prosecutors talking about what would be powerful evidence: Video of the shooter's stance in the school, compared to video of him at the shooting range.

Keast talked about his surprise in finding out at a pretrial hearing in 2022 that the Crumbleys wanted to put the shooter on the stand to "excuse their own liability."

The documentary showed footage of the shooter's plea hearing, where the shooter confirmed the gun he used in the shooting "was not locked."

Williams also expressed his thoughts on Smith's opening statements in Jennifer's trial, where she equated the case to a Taylor Swift song she listened to that morning that mentioned how Band-Aids cannot "stop bullet holes."

"We were all stunned when she gave her opening statement and said that she was listening to Taylor Swift on the way in this morning to calm her nerves and warm up her voice and it occurred to her that Band-Aids over bullet holes was what this case was really about," Williams said. "I hope Taylor Swift heard that because it was really offensive and bizarre."


During the trial, prosecutors were still debating whether or not they should call Brian Meloche, the man Jennifer was having an affair with. McDonald said Smith's cross examination would be limited because Smith didn't want the information about the affair presented to the jury. But Smith ultimately allowed that information to be presented, opening the door to questions about the affair.

"The only reason that we called Brian Meloche is that she told him that day that she was worried her kid was going to do something stupid," McDonald said. "The only reason we ever fought to admit evidence of that affair was to show that there was so much time being spent outside of work in those endeavors, and it wasn't just one."

Jury foreman in James' trial speaks out

Gregory Beaudry, jury foreman, was interviewed for the documentary. He did not say much about the jury's decision, but said the first informal vote after they went back to deliberate was nine guilty, two not guilty and one undecided.

"It wasn't easy, a lot of emotions and that's why it took over 10 hours," Beaudry said. "The first I could think of was how did the kid get a gun?"

The jury foreperson for Jennifer Crumbley’s trial, who has identified herself only by her first name Alex, told reporters a key factor in the jury's decision was that Jennifer was the last adult seen with the gun. Jennifer had gone to a shooting range with her son a few days before the massacre, and testified the 9mm handgun remained in her car afterward with the expectation James Crumbley would lock it up.

"Lives hung in the balance, and we took that seriously," she said. "... The thing that really hammered it home is that she was the last adult with the gun."

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