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Parents of suspected Michigan school shooter appear in court

Jennifer Crumbley James Crumbley
Posted at 7:56 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 11:11:31-05

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the Oxford High School shooting suspect, appeared in court Tuesday for a probable cause conference.

The hearing was adjourned so prosecutors and defense attorneys could go through more evidence. A preliminary exam was set for Feb. 8, 2022, and the defense attorneys said they plan to file a motion on bond.

Both parents have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with a school shooting earlier this month.

Prosecutors say the parents gifted their son the gun he used to kill four of his classmates: Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin and Justin Shilling.

The couple's son, Ethan Crumbley, appeared in court on Monday for a brief hearing, where a judge delayed his probable cause hearing until January 2022.

All three are being held at the Oakland County Jail. On Monday, Ethan Crumbley's defense attorney tried to get him moved to Children's Village, a juvenile facility, but the judge denied the request and postponed the rest of the hearing until after the holidays.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were absent from their son's hearing on Monday.

Their son is represented by a court-appointed attorney, while the parents have retained high-profile attorney Shannon Smith. Smith's former client list includes convicted rapist and former USA Gymnastics coach Larry Nassar.

Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Mark Keast said his office has already shared 500 pages of reports and witness statements with the suspect's defense team but added there's an enormous amount of evidence that has yet to be obtained.

Prosecutors say that the Crumbleys purchased a gun for their son on the day after Thanksgiving. They say Jennifer Crumbley posted a photo of the gun on social media that weekend, writing that she and her son tested out "his new Christmas present" at a local shooting range.

When school resumed on Monday, prosecutors say teachers found Ethan Crumbley searching the internet for ammunition during class. The next day, a teacher found a disturbing picture drawn by the student that raised red flags.

That same day, prosecutors said the Crumbleys were called to a parent-teacher conference, where school officials urged them to seek counseling for their son. The parents allegedly resisted that suggestion, and Ethan Crumbley returned to class. The shooting occurred later that day.

On Dec. 3, prosecutors announced they would file charges against both parents. However, in the hours after charges were filed, the Crumbleys could not be found.

Eventually, the couple was found early the next morning hiding in a Detroit art studio, hours after they were scheduled to turn themselves in to police.

In addition to the involuntary manslaughter charges, the parents could also face legal troubles for allegedly trying to avoid arrest.

This story was originally published by Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit.