Bond set at $500,000 each for parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter

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After briefly being the subjects of a $10,0000 manhunt, the parents of a teen who allegedly perpetrated a mass shooting at Oxford High School have been arraigned on criminal charges.

Facts

James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of Oxford High School shooter James Crumbley, pleaded not guilty on Saturday to four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Each count held up to 15 years in prison along with up to a $7,500 fine.

The parents were charged after their son, Ethan Crumbley, was accused of shooting and killing four students and injuring seven others at Oxford High School in Michigan earlier this week.

McDonald said James Crumbley purchased the weapon recovered following the shooting- a 9mm Sig Sauer pistol- at a local firearms store on Black Friday, per an employee.

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James and Jennifer Crumbley were taken into custody in Saturday’s predawn hours after an extensive manhunt for the couple, who had failed to appear for their arraignment Friday. The U.S Marshalls offered a $10,000 reward each for their capture following an hours-long search.

The Oakland County district judge ruled Saturday that James and Jennifer Crumbley be held on $500,000 bond each during their arraignment hearing, citing a concern about a “flight risk.”

Details

Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman on Saturday morning issued the following statement ahead of their clients’ arraignment:

“We understand that our clients were apprehended last night, although we fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment, contrary to the misinformation that has been rampant in the media.

Unfortunately, this case presents the most unimaginable tragedy for everyone, every single person involved, including every community member. While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges, in this case, are intended to make an example and send a message. The prosecution has very much cherry-picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that.”

“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events of Nov. 30, and I intend to hold them accountable as well,” McDonald said Friday. “Gun ownership is a right. And with that right comes great responsibility.”

McDonald shot back, saying the Crumbleys “didn’t need law enforcement permission to go to the court and turn themselves in.” 

McDonald then followed up by saying, “The whole country knew that these charges were coming. And lastly, to suggest that anyone is somehow using this incident to create press – there’s a lot of attention here because four children were murdered and seven others were injured, and that is on the mind of every single person in this country.” 

Judge Julie Nicholson assigned a bond of $500,000 apiece to each of the parents and required GPS monitoring if they pay to be released, agreeing with prosecutors that they pose a flight risk.

The U.S. Marshals office announced that the pair were on the run, offering $10,000 each for information leading to their arrest. The U.S. Marshals also revealed that the pair had withdrawn $4,00 from an ATM and had turned off their cell phones following McDonald’s press conference. 

“The action of fleeing and ignoring their attorney certainly adds weight to the charges. They cannot run from their part in this tragedy,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Friday afternoon.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are currently being charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, each charge with sentences upwards of 15-years. Both James and Jennifer pleaded not guilty to the charges of involuntary manslaughter. 

McDonald opted to take the rare and unprecedented step of charging the parents of a school shooter for involuntary manslaughter following evidence that emerged in the days after Ethan’s arrest. 

According to the prosecutors, school officials twice spoke to Ethan about his alleged threats against classmates the day before and the day of the shooting. Details of those meetings were revealed. A day before the shootings, a teacher witnessed Crumbley doing an internet search for ammunition for the gun in the classroom. When the school notified Jennifer Crumbley about the incident, she texted Ethan, “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.” Four days before the shooting, James took Ethan to buy the Sig Sauer handgun on Black Friday, with Ethan posting photos of “my beauty” on social media soon after.

Crumbley’s parents also met with school officials just hours before the shooting after another teacher found a drawing Ethan made with images of a gun and a person shot dead along with the writing, “Blood everywhere” and “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” After the meeting, Crumbley’s parents “resisted” the idea of removing him that day. No one checked to see if Ethan had obtained his father’s firearm, which James allegedly later admitted was left in an unlocked box in his bedroom. 

The state must prove that the Crumbleys caused the death of the deceased victim, that the deceased individual died as a result of their actions by (1) intending to kill the victim, (2) intending to do great bodily harm to the victim, or (3) creating a situation where the risk of great bodily harm or death was very high, knowing that as a result of the defendant’s actions they knew that severe harm or death would likely result. The prosecutors must also show that the defendant caused the victim’s death without justification or lawful excuse.

The primary focus with convicting James and Jennifer Crumbley will be the third option that is likely the basis for these charges.

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