Why Does James Crumbley Wear Headphones In Hulu's 'Sins of the Parents'?

By Richard Nebens Posted:
James Crumbley with headphones

Following Sins of the Parents - The Crumbley Trials' debut on Hulu, viewers question why James Crumbley is wearing headphones in the documentary.

This documentary analyzes the trial of Jennifer and James Crumbley, whose son pled guilty to multiple charges (including terrorism and first-degree murder) after four Oxford High School students were killed in a mass school shooting.

Jennifer and James were subsequently charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors found evidence of an unsecured gun at their home and a lack of care for their son's mental health.

Produced by ABC News Studios, Sins of the Parents premiered on Hulu on April 18.

James Crumbley's Headphones in Sins of the Parents

James Crumbley on trial, wearing headphones
James Crumbley

In Hulu's new true crime documentary, Sins of the Parents - The Crumbley Trials, subject James Crumbley is seen wearing headphones during his trial, where he faced charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Many questioned his need for the headphones before the documentary revealed that he suffers from hearing loss. The headphones he wears in the documentary allow him to hear the court proceedings better as he and his wife stand trial for their son's involvement in the Oxford High School shooting in 2021.

Additionally, Crumbley was said to have raised his middle finger to the prosecution in the courtroom during his trial, which would have been a blatant sign of disrespect in normal circumstances.

However, defense attorney Mariell Lehman explained that Crumbley's middle finger being up was not meant to flip anybody off. Instead (per CBS News), he was holding his headphones closer to his ear so he could hear what was being said in the trial better.

In a court filing, Lehman noted that the assertion that Crumbley made that gesture "should be stricken from the record," calling the accusation "baseless" and an attempt to put him in a negative light:

"This assertion by the prosecution related to Mr. Crumbley making an obscene gesture is not only irrelevant but it is also blatantly false and should be stricken from the record. The Court could review the several days of trial and see that there were occasions where Mr. Crumbley used one or more fingers to press the device against his ears. Any assertion that Mr. Crumbley was doing anything other than attempting to hear the proceedings is baseless and a continued attempt to make Mr. Crumbley look bad to the media and the public."

James Crombley recently went on trial for involuntary manslaughter after his wife, Jennifer, stood trial for the same crimes in March. They were both sentenced to 10 years in prison on April 9 after being tried separately by the same judge. 

Sins of the Parents took an exclusive look inside the prosecutor's office during the two years this trial lasted. 

It also featured interviews with key players in the case, including parents who lost their children in the shooting along with parents whose children survived. Lehman is featured in the documentary as she performed her duties as James Crumbley's attorney.

Sins of the Parents - The Crumbley Trials is now streaming on Hulu.

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- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.