“Her first instinct was to lie,” Mr. Keast said. “Her second was to run.”
Shannon Smith, a lawyer representing Ms. Crumbley, said the prosecution was trying to lay blame for a heinous attack on a woman who “did the best she could” in raising her son.
Ms. Smith said Ms. Crumbley learned only after the shooting about many of the alarming signs, such as Ethan’s text exchanges with friends, that the prosecution would point out as evidence of Ethan’s mental descent. Ms. Smith said that Ethan hid these signs from her and that school officials had never told her about some of the more troubling instances of Ethan’s behavior.
“He did something she could have never anticipated or fathomed or predicted,” Ms. Smith said.
A long record of motions, rulings and other filings leading up to the trial portrays a chaotic home in which, prosecutors say, Ethan’s mental breakdown was ignored and his pleas for help went unheeded.
The week before the shooting, Mr. Crumbley took Ethan to buy a 9 millimeter SIG Sauer handgun, and Ms. Crumbley took him for target practice. On the morning of Nov. 30, both parents were called to the school because Ethan had drawn violent images of a shooting on some class work. Against the suggestion of a school counselor, they did not take their son out of school to get immediate medical help, and they were unaware that he had taken the gun to school in his backpack that day.
Within hours of that meeting, Ethan began shooting.
Ms. Smith said that Mr. Crumbley was responsible for storing the gun. She also said that her client never even considered Ethan a risk for committing violence against others, even after she was alerted that a mass shooting had taken place at the high school. Until authorities explicitly told her what had happened, Ms. Smith said, “it still has not crossed her mind that he would ever shoot another person.”