‘We’re laying low': Crumbley's messages to attorneys revealed on last day of testimony

On Friday, Jennifer Crumbley was back under oath where she promised to tell the truth. Oakland County Prosecutor Mark Keast double-checked, under oath, that she knew what she was promising to do and that she was aware she was under oath yesterday. Then promised that they'd be back to revisit that promise.

Keast: "You Understand that you took the stand under oath, and you have to tell the truth? 

Crumbley: "I do."

Keast: "You understand that was the rules yesterday as well? 

Crumbley: "Correct." 

Keast: "All right. We're gonna come back to that."

For a little more than an hour, Crumbley was questioned by Keast about the things she testified to on Thursday. But one of the things that Crumbley said in court the day before, would become a major leverage point for the prosecution.

Later in the day on Thursday, Crumbley testified about when she and here husband were found at an art studio in Detroit. The Crumbleys, through their attorney, have long maintained that they were not on the run. Crumbley testified about a conversation she had with her attorney, Shannon Smith.

Jennifer testified that after learning they were charged, they consulted with their attorney, defense attorney Shannon Smith, and planned to turn themselves in the next day.

Prosecutor questions Jennifer Crumbley's trust of James during gun testimony

"I was not aware that we could go to court that afternoon. I was just waiting on direction from you," she told her attorney in court.

That information about the conversation, opened the door for the prosecution to examine the conversation the night of Dec. 3, 2021, between Crumbley and Smith. 

Throughout the evening of Dec. 3, Jennifer had texted with her attorneys at the time, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman. At 6:04 p.m., James sent a message that her and James were now using just one phone because James' broke. The response was ‘when you can we would like for you to call us', from Lehman.

Oxford shooter's mom says 'I wish he would have killed us instead'

Just after 7 p.m., Smith messaged that they would come get the Crumbley parents the next morning.

"Mariell and I are going to come and get you guys in the morning. We do not think it will help to make a statement that you're coming back now or that it will be tomorrow a.m. We can say that we told everyone you were coming back in as of tomorrow and you were back," Keast read from the text. "We can show that everything we said was going to happen did happen."

Jennifer responded with ‘Okay, we’ll be waiting'.

Jennifer said on Thursday that she and James Crumbley checked out of the extended stay hotel where they were staying and went to the art studio. They each took four Xanax before going to sleep sometime around 11 p.m.  She then testified that the phone, with two alarms set, was inside of two plastic totes away from the mattress they were sleeping on.

Jennifer Crumbley attorney tries ‘opening door’ on more of shooter's journal, judge rejects

Keast re-read her testimony in court, which she confirmed. She then said in court that the next thing she remembered was her husband screaming and there were guns in their face. She said she wasn't aware of anything going on. She reaffirmed that she knew if she said something that wasn't true, that it would be a lie.

However, at 11:14 p.m., the Crumbleys sent a message: 

"Think we might have found Don't know. Just heads up, please check."

Jennifer said she didn't dispute that the message was sent but doesn't believe it was sent by her.

Two minutes later, two more messages went out: "We might have been found" and "Laying low."

Smith immediately responded: "Oh sh**"

She testified that she didn't know the police were there, despite 911 having been called at 10:43 p.m. by a neighbor. Surveillance video from the building shows the first police arriving before 11 p.m., when Crumbley said they were going to sleep.

Detroit Police Corporal David Shaw had previously testified that a 35-pound battering ram was used to open the door of the studio next door. 


Jennifer Crumbley answers questions from the Oakland County Prosecutor during her trial on Friday, Feb. 2.

Jennifer didn't deny that she knows from testimony that there were hundreds of officers on scene that night

The line of questioning from Keast is an effort to prove that the Crumbleys were trying to flee, which is a major part of their case. None of these messages would have previously been admitted in court if not for Thursday when Jennifer said she had messaged with her attorney. That led to a lengthy delay Friday morning as the prosecution wanted those messages used in court. However, due to client-attorney privilege, Judge Cheryl Matthews had to rule on whether it would be allowed or not – she ultimately said it would be allowed but only messages about that night.

What is Jennifer Crumbley charged with?

Jennifer Crumbley is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count for each student killed by her son at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021. 

Her husband, James Crumbley, is also facing the same charges and is expected to go to trial after Jennifer's trial is complete.

What did Jennifer Crumbley do?

The prosecution argues that Jennifer and James ignored their son's mental health and even bought him a gun before the Oxford High School shooting. 

Jennifer's attorney maintains that her client knew nothing about guns and was not involved in purchasing the weapon. Receipts provided in court show that James bought the gun, and the shooter admitted during his plea hearing that he gave James money to buy the firearm. Video from a gun range showed Jennifer shooting a gun with her son, but her lawyer claims she didn't know what she was doing.

Journal entries detailing the shooter's mental state have been presented in court, but Jennifer's defense argues that there is no evidence Jennifer knew about this writing.

Witnesses called by the prosecution during the trial have also described a meeting between the Crumbley parents and school officials the morning of the shooting. The parents were called after violent drawings were discovered on their son's schoolwork. 

During this meeting, a school counselor told the parents to get their son mental health help as soon as possible and recommended that they take him home from school. However, the parents chose not to take him home.

Jennifer Crumbley's trial so far

Read recaps of each day of testimony below:

Day 1: Oxford teacher, assistant principal testify

Day 2: Messages between shooter, parents shown

Day 3: Parents' first police interview shown

Day 4: Ex-Oxford High School dean questioned, Crumbley's colleagues testify 

Day 5: Extramarital affair revealed, arrest video shown

Day 6: Jennifer Crumbley takes the stand