Led into the court by chains, James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the alleged Michigan school shooter, made their first court appearance after being charged in connection to the massacre.The parents face four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. They’re accused of not intervening in the days leading up to Nov. 30 when their 15-year-old son, Ethan Crumbley, allegedly drew a handgun they bought for him and fired into a crowd of students at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan. Four students were killed and seven more injured. Crumbley was charged with murder, attempted murder, and terrorism.
At a hearing held Tuesday, James and Jennifer Crumbley stared at each other when brought in to the courthouse. Neither reacted upon hearing their preliminary exam will be moved to February after both the prosecutor and defence counsel said there was too much evidence to go over. No date was set for the rescheduled probable cause hearing. Karen McDonald, the Oakland County prosecutor, called the amount of evidence her office and the defense counsel need to go through “staggering.”Their case is believed to be one of the first times that parents have been charged in connection with a school shooting.McDonald held a press conference on Dec. 3, accusing James and Jennifer Crumbley of having plenty of opportunities to intervene and never doing so. The pair fled when they were initially charged with involuntary manslaughter but were found later that evening. They are both being held in prison on a $500,000 bond.Speaking to the media, one of the lawyers for the parents accused McDonald of cherry-picking and torquing facts to lay the charges.“We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion,” they said in a statement to local media. “We know that in the end the entire story and truth will prevail."
McDonald alleged the parents bought the gun allegedly used in the shooting as an early “Christmas gift.” In the press conference announcing the charges against the Crumbleys, McDonald said their son was caught researching ammunition days before the shooting and said Jennifer had texted her son “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You just have to learn not to get caught.”On the day of the shooting, both James and Jennifer Crumbley were called into the school after Ethan was caught with a drawing of a gun pointed at the words “the thoughts won’t stop, help me,” and a person shot. McDonald said the parents went to the school but did not take Ethan home with them nor check if he had the gun on him.“While the shooter was the individual who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there were other individuals who contributed to the events on Nov. 30 and it’s my intention to hold them accountable as well,” she said.The parents of a young girl who was shot in the neck during the shooting have filed a $100 million lawsuit against several school officials, including the superintendent and principal, for not intervening prior to the shooting. On Monday, Ethan Crumbley made a short appearance where his hearing was moved, also because of overwhelming evidence. At that hearing his lawyers requested he be moved from an adult to a juvenile facility so he can continue with his schooling. The judge refused the request.Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.