Taped Calls: James Crumbley Felt Like a Martyr Fighting To Make Sure Other Parents Wouldn't Face Criminal Charges

April 12, 2024, 3:57 PM by  Allan Lengel

James Crumbley

James Crumbley, father of mass shooter Ethan Crumbley, said in recorded jail phone calls dating back to 2022 that he considered him and his wife martyrs for fighting the case so other parents don't face criminal charges in similar instances, and vowed to seek vengeance against the county's top prosecutor Karen McDonald.

The audio calls, which were obtained by the Detroit Free Press through the Freedom of Information Act, were posted Friday along with a story by reporter Tresa Baldas. The calls span 15 months. 

"She really got it coming to her when I fucking get out," Crumbley said on the phone at the Oakland County Jail, along with, "Yeah, fuck Karen McDonald. You're fucked when I get out."

During the phone calls he acknowledges that they're being recorded and hopes McDonald is listening.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews on Tuesday mentioned the calls before giving Crumbley and his wife Jennifer 10 to 15 years in prison. Both were convicted in separate trials of four counts of involuntary manslaughter for their son's mass shooting at Oxford High School in November 2021 that resulted in four dead and seven wounded including a teacher. 

James Crumbley says during a call that the charges are based on nothing. 

"It's really ridiculous, I'm getting...sick of it," he said. 

"We're martyrs, you know, without the whole dying aspect of it because, I don't know what better word to use...but we're martyrs to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody else in America." 

"It's just ridiculous...We're going to fight the good battle for everybody else...I feel like I joined the mliitary and I'm going to fight for my country. I'm kind of fighting for everybody else's freedom."

He refers to McDonald as ignorant and uneducated and says at one point. He goes on to say when he's fone going after McDonald she'll lose her law license and end up working at McDonald's. 

"They trying t blame it all on us...We feel it's just so ridiculous...It was the school."

Crumbley's lawyer, Mariell Lehman has insisted all along that her client had no intention of physically harming McDonald and was only venting his frustration. 

Listen to two of the phone calls below.



Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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