Jurors in the trial of Jennifer Crumbley have learned that she was using an adultery app to pursue multiple affairs, as prosecutors pushed back on the defence’s claim that she was a “hypervigilant” mother to Oxford High School mass shooter Ethan Crumbley.
The shooter’s mother took the stand for a second day in a row this week, facing a grilling under cross-examination from prosecutors on Friday.
The prosecution contested the defence’s argument that Ms Crumbley was a “hypervigilant” mother and emphasised how much time Ethan spent by himself while Ms Crumbley was busy doing other things.
One of those things was romantic encounters outside of her marriage, the prosecution argued.
Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast brought up Ms Crumbley’s affair with Brian Meloche, a fire department captain and long-time friend with whom she had an affair.
Mr Meloche – who also testified this week – and Ms Crumbley had an affair that spanned roughly six months starting in spring 2021. Mr Meloche said he hadn’t spoken to Ms Crumbley since her arrest on 4 December of that year.
Mr Keast tried to connect the dots between the timing of Ethan’s apparent spiral into depression — pointing to the spring of 2021, after his grandmother passed away and he began missing school — and the timing of the start of Ms Crumbley’s affair with Mr Meloche.
He added that Ms Crumbley’s digital footprint showed that – beyond this affair – she was also using AdultFriendFinder.
The site describes itself as the “world’s largest dating and social network for adults”.
When confronted by her online habits, Ms Crumbley didn’t deny talking to others on the website, but no further details about those conversations were revealed.
Aside from her alleged romances, the prosecution also asked her how much time she dedicated to her family.
On Thursday, Ms Crumbley had testified that she spent a lot of time with her family, detailing hosting holiday gatherings and skiing with her son.
Prosecutors tried to poke holes in that argument on Friday, pointing out how much time and care she dedicated to horses, whereas Ethan rarely went to the barns with her.
Ms Crumbley said he could have gone with her if he wanted but “he was not into horses…he didn’t want to go”.
The prosecutor also questioned Ms Crumbley about the meeting she had with her son’s school counsellor on 30 November about his disturbing drawings – hours before the massacre unfolded.
He pointed out that on that day, she told her boss that she would be back an hour later, which Mr Keast described as “putting a limit” on the meeting’s span.
In the meeting, she and her husband then allegedly cited that they both needed to return to work, opting for their son to stay in school that day.
It was revealed in court on Thursday that – rather than needing to return to work – Ms Crumbley had texted Mr Meloche that she was able to meet up with him.
At the school meeting, Ms Crumbley testified that she didn’t tell school officials that her son owned a gun, which she and her husband had purchased for him just four days earlier.
Ms Crumbley also testified that she didn’t go home and look for the gun in her home after the meeting. “I didn’t have a reason to,” she said on the stand on Friday.
Seemingly trying to set the stage for Ethan’s state of mind on the day of the shooting, Mr Keast pointed out that the 15-year-old’s best friend abruptly left the state to receive OCD treatment right before Halloween, when they were planning on hanging out.
That left Ethan home alone on Halloween while his parents were at a party, he said. Ms Crumbley said that he didn’t want to go with them to the party because “it was a bunch of little kids” there.
Ms Crumbley took issue when the prosecutor suggested her son “didn’t have any other friends,” saying instead that her son “didn’t have many friends”.
She told the court that she hadn’t met any of his other friends and that Ethan didn’t see them outside of school but that he hung out with them in school.
The prosecution then turned to her 15-year-old’s fixation with guns.
“He had a consistent desire to obtain a weapon?” the prosecutor asked. Ms Crumbley replied that he didn’t express that to her.
Throughout the trial, the defence has portrayed her husband as being in charge of guns and Ms Crumbley as knowing little about firearms.
“It was a surprise to me that they went to the gun store that day. It was not a surprise that they bought a gun,” she said, referring to James Crumbley going to a gun store with Ethan.
Mr Keast then argued that Ms Crumbley didn’t “trust” her husband with many things around the house or to hold down a job – but did trust him “with a deadly weapon”.
“I did,” she replied.
The prosecution also brought up the lead-up to the Crumbleys’ arrest, reading text messages sent to the pair’s attorneys.
Ms Crumbley had told the court that she didn’t know the police had tracked them to the artist studio, where she and her husband had gone to stay after skipping town.
However, texts revealed that she did seem to know that police were on the studio’s premises at around 11pm that night.
“Laying low,” texts from her phone read. Her attorney Shannon Smith replied “oh s***,” according to records read in court.
Ms Crumbley acknowledged that she knew officers were on the scene at that time.
However, the shooter’s mother has sought to deny the claim that she and her husband were hiding from authorities.
Under questioning from the defence on Thursday, she claimed that she “was not aware that we could go to court that afternoon. I was just waiting for direction from you [as] to what we were going to do”.
The police arrested them at the studio at 1.30am on 4 December.