FOX 2 (WJBK) - Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the Oxford High School shooter, was found guilty on all four counts of manslaughter Tuesday in the Nov. 30, 2021 mass shooting.
The shooting took the lives of Tate Myre, Madisyn Baldwin, Hana St. Juliana, and Justin Shilling. Among the family members in the courtroom for the jury's verdict was Craig Shilling.
Craig, the father of Justin Shilling, said that the guilty verdict gave some measure of solace.
"I can't pinpoint any thoughts but it's a relief to have this behind us and be able to shift focus on the next one. And so I would definitely say that it was like a load off your chest."
The decision is a monumental one and the first of its kind in the U.S. Crumbley is the first parent of a mass shooter to be charged and convicted in connection with their child's crime. The gun used by the teen shooter was given as a gift by his parents, bought by his father James, while Jennifer took him to the gun range for practice afterward.
Shilling hopes this sends a message to parents everywhere.
"Do your due diligence with your child," he said. "It's your choice to have a child, and you cannot choose to not take care of your child. You cannot choose to nurture your child, you cannot choose to take your own interests over your child, especially when it comes to mental health and addressing concerns (and) problems. I mean everything about that was disturbing. "
If he had a chance to speak with Jennifer Crumbley, Shilling said he would tell her that the entire tragedy could have been avoided with more vigilance.
"I would probably say something along the lines of he wouldn't have to go through any of us if you would have just done your job as a parent," he said. "And you know, you can't foresee certain things like this. I mean, I'm not the hyper-vigilant dad, but you have to adhere to the warning signs from your children. When (Crumbley) said that he was feeling depressed back in April. That was a long time ago before this happened."
Involuntary manslaughter is punishable in Michigan by up to 15 years in prison. Crumbley could be sentenced for each count consecutively, which would be 60 years.
James Crumbley's trial is set for March 5, although legal analyst James White on FOX's Live Now said that he expects a plea deal could be in the works as a result of today's verdict.
If the trial does come to bear for James Crumbley, Shilling said he will be ready to show up in court again, even if it means sitting though the painful evidence and memories of the tragedy.
"It's okay. I'm fully committed to saying that through every step of the way, and every trial that comes through about this," he said.
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In the moments after the verdict was read, Shilling could be seen shaking the hands of Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald and members of her team. He said it came from a place of sincere gratitude.
"It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. They have all worked tireless hours, going through evidence," he said. "And you know, it's not like spectacle, it's not for political gain or anything. It's for the truth. It's for addressing a problem that we have in society that nobody has been able to address yet."
Craig Shilling/Inset: Oxford HS shooting victim Justin Shilling