Michigan school shooting suspect’s parents held on $500,000 bond each as judge expresses flight-risk concerns

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A judge on Saturday imposed a combined $1 million bond for the parents of a Michigan teen charged with the murder of four students at an Oxford high school police said they were hiding in a Detroit commercial building.

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During a hearing held on Zoom, James and Jennifer Crumbley pleaded not guilty to each of the four involuntary homicides against him.

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Jennifer Crumbley cried and struggled several times to answer the judge’s questions, and James Crumbley shook his head when a prosecutor said he had full access to the gun used in his son’s murders.

Judge Julie Nicholson handed each parent a $500,000 bond and required GPS monitoring if they paid to be released, agreeing with prosecutors that they took a flight risk.

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Defense lawyers for the Crumbleys also argued Saturday that they never intended to run away and had planned to meet with their lawyers that morning. Attorney Shannon Smith accused prosecutors of “cherry picking” the facts for the public release, including the allegation that her teenage son had unrestricted access to handguns, which prosecutors say his father took from the shooting. Bought for them a few days ago.

“Our customers are just as devastated as everyone else,” Smith said, noting the gun was “gunned.” He did not provide further details during Saturday’s hearing.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald’s office filed involuntary manslaughter charges against the Crumblies on Friday, accusing her of failing to intervene on the day of the tragedy, despite being confronted with a drawing and chilling message — “blood everywhere.” – which was found on the boy’s desk. They could each face up to 15 years in prison, according to a spokesperson for McDonald’s office.

McDonald’s said Friday that the Crumblies committed “arrogant” acts to buy a gun on Black Friday and to protest the removal of Ethan Crumbley from school when he was called hours before the shooting.

Officials had been searching for the couple since Friday afternoon. Late Friday, the US marshals announced a reward of up to $10,000 to each person leading to his arrest.

Smith, a lawyer for the Crumblies, said on Friday that the pair had left the city earlier in the week “for their own safety” and would return to Oxford to face charges.

During Saturday’s hearing, Smith said they were in contact by phone and text on Friday evening and blamed prosecutors for failing to communicate with him and fellow defense attorney Mariel Lehman.

“Our customers were going to completely turn themselves in; it was just a matter of logistics,” she said.

But McDonald’s said on Saturday that the couple withdrew $4,000 on Friday morning from an ATM in Rochester Hills, not far from the courthouse where they should have appeared that afternoon.

“These are not people that we can be assured that they will automatically return to court,” she said.

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said in a statement, a Detroit business owner noticed a car tied to crumbles in his parking lot late Friday. McCabe said a woman ran near the vehicle when the business owner called 911. The couple was later traced and arrested by Detroit Police.

Detroit Police Chief James E. White said the couple were “assisted to enter the building,” and that the man who helped them could also face charges.

On Friday, McDonald’s offered the most accurate description ever of the shootings at Oxford High School, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Investigators said 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley emerged from the bathroom with a gun, shooting the students. He has been charged as an adult for murder, terrorism and other offences.

Under Michigan law, a charge of involuntary manslaughter filed against a parent may be pursued if authorities believe someone contributed to a situation where there was a high probability of harm or death.

According to experts, parents in the US are rarely charged in school shootings involving their children, even with most minors receiving guns from a parent or relative’s home.

McDonald’s said school officials became concerned about little Crumble on Monday, a day before the shooting, when a teacher saw him searching for ammunition on his phone.

Jennifer Crumbley was contacted and later told her son in a text message: “Lol. I’m not mad at you. According to the prosecutor, you have to learn not to get caught.

On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a picture. It was a picture of a gun pointing to the words, “Thoughts will not stop. Help me,” McDonald said.

There was also a picture of a bullet, he said, with the words above it: “Blood everywhere.”

Between the gun and the bullet was a man who was shot twice and appeared to be bleeding. According to the prosecutor, he also wrote, “My life is worthless” and “the world is dead”.

McDonald said the school soon held a meeting with Ethan and his parents, who were asked to provide counseling within 48 hours.

The Crumblies failed to ask his son about the gun or check his bag and “opposed the idea of ​​his son dropping out of school at the time,” McDonald said.

Instead, the teen returned to class and the shooting followed.

“The notion that a parent can read those words and also know that their son had a lethal weapon they gave him is unconscionable — it’s criminal,” the prosecutor said.

Jennifer Crumble wrote to her son after shooting, “Ethan, don’t do it,” McDonald said.

James Crumble calls 911 to say that a gun is missing from his house and that Ethan may be the shooter. McDonald said the gun was kept in an unlocked drawer in the parent’s bedroom.

“Ethan went with his dad to buy a gun on November 26 and posted pictures of the gun on social media,” McDonald said, “just found my new beauty today.”

The prosecutor said that over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Jennifer Crumbley wrote on social media that it was “mother and son’s day testing their new Christmas gifts”.

Asked at a news conference whether the father could be charged with buying a gun for the son, McDonald said it would be a decision of federal officials.

In a video message to the community on Thursday, the head of Oxford Community Schools said the high school looked like a “war zone” and would not be ready for weeks. Superintendent Tim Throne repeatedly commended the students and staff for how they reacted to the violence.

He also acknowledged the meeting of Crumbley, parents and school officials. Throne gave no details, but summarized it by saying, “No discipline was necessary.”

McDonald’s was asked about the decision to keep Crumbley at the school.
“Of course, she shouldn’t have gone back to that class. … I believe it’s a universal situation. I’m not going to punish or attack, but yes,” she said.
Asked whether school officials could be charged, McDonald said: “The investigation is ongoing.”

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