Ethan Crumbley 'could receive a lighter sentence if he turns the blame on parents for giving him gun,' expert claims

ALLEGED school shooter Ethan Crumbley could get a lighter sentence if he blames his parents for giving him the gun used in the shooting, said an expert.

Attorney Matthew Barhoma, founder of Barhoma Law, PC, is a renowned criminal appeals and corporate lawyer in California who recently spoke with The Sun about last week's mass shooting.

He spoke about the Crumbleys, who are in a rare situation as 15-year-old Ethan’s parents, Jennifer and James, have also been charged with involuntary manslaughter. 

“It's very unfortunate to see yet another school shooting. However, this one cuts deeper as it appears to have been so preventable,” he said.

Barhoma added that Ethan’s parents and “anyone else in a position to help” could have addressed the “deeper rooted issues” in the teen’s life.

The 15-year-old was caught by a teacher searching for ammunition on his phone a day before the shooting.

“If anything is to change, we need to first determine how he gained possession of that much firepower and how to eliminate the ability of teenagers to buy ammunition,” Barhoma said. 

He said he understands why Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald sought charges against Ethan’s parents, saying there appears to be “some knowledge on the part of the parents.”

“First, you have exchanges between Ethan and his mother, where she is texting him, ‘Ethan. Don’t do it.’ Moreover, the father called 911 suspecting his son to be the shooter.”

Given the Crumbleys’ possible knowledge, Barhoma believes the prosecution may even amend the charges to include a higher level of culpability after the couple went on the run for 11 hours. 

“If there is evidence that they had a deeper level of knowledge, you may even see them become more aiders and abetters than mere individuals with a duty to act with an omission of intervention.“ he said. 

As for Ethan who has been charged as an adult for allegedly killing four students at Oxford High School, Barhoma thinks it’s likely the teen could receive a life sentence without parole.

But Barhoma says the teen could get a lighter sentence if he shifts the blame to his parents. 

“After all, he is a 15-year-old child. Usually, no one exerts a greater influence on a child’s life than their parents,” he said.

Barhoma added that Ethan’s best possible defense is to “claim delusion or insanity for the upbringing his parents gave him.“

Ethan is accused of shooting dead four students and injuring more in an attack at Oxford High School last week.

On Saturday, officials revealed he and his parents were on suicide watch and are being checked on "multiple times an hour."

Prior to the Crumbleys' arrest, they had been seen on Friday when a search warrant was executed at their home, according to Bouchard.

When asked about reports that Jennifer and James Crumbley were hiding from police, Bouchard said: "Where they were and how they were seems to support the position they were hiding."

Police are also reporting that the Crumbley parents withdrew $4,000 from an ATM and turned their cell phones off before they were apprehended, noting that the Crumbleys may have had help hiding from authorities, and that person may also face charges.

The investigation is ongoing at this time.

Late on Friday night, police located the "fugitive" parents, who were traveling on foot after their car was reportedly found abandoned in Detroit.

On Saturday morning, the Crumbley parents made their first court appearance in an Oakland County court.

Jennifer Crumbley appeared to break down in tears as a judge charged her and James on four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

They both pleaded "not guilty" to the charges, and were each placed under $500,000 bond.

A district judge ruled the couple a "flight risk" during their arraignment hearing.

It has now been reported that James Crumbley bought the gun for Ethan on Black Friday as a Christmas present, which is against Michigan state gun laws.

Oakland County prosecutor, Karen McDonald, told WJBK this week that both James and Jennifer Crumbley had been “difficult,” adding Ethan should not have had access to his father’s gun.

McDonald stated: “We know owning a gun means securing it properly locked up and keeping ammunition separate and not allowing access to other individuals especially minors.”

Arguing that people should be held accountable when a child gets a hold of their handgun she concluded, “We will be making a decision swiftly.”

Ethan's father bought the gun used in the shooting four days before it happened, cops claimCredit: Instagram
Attorney Matthew Barhoma says Ethan could get a lighter sentence if he shifts the blame to his parentsCredit: Facebook/jcrumbley

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