Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect plead not guilty
James and Jennifer Crumbley plead not guilty to all four counts of involuntary manslaughter, and have both their bails set to $500,000
Michigan shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley and his parents were all behind bars inside the same Oakland County lockup on Saturday, according to authorities.
James and Jennifer Crumbley joined their 15-year-old son inside the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac following their arrests in Detroit during the wee hours of Saturday morning, the New York Post reported.
The three family members were being held in separate areas of the jail and were not being permitted to communicate, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, according to the Post.
All three were being held in isolation and under suicide watch, the sheriff said.
“We have nothing to lead us to believe that anybody has any mental health challenges so far,” the sheriff told reporters at a news conference on Saturday. “They indicate no interest or desire to hurt themselves.”
Ethan was sent to the jail last week after he allegedly shot four classmates dead and wounded seven other people Tuesday at Oxford High School, the school he attended in a suburb north of Detroit. The rampage happened not long after he and his parents met with school officials over some drawings Ethan reportedly made, showing disturbing images.
This image from 52-1 District Court in Michigan shows a Zoom arraignment Saturday for Jennifer and James Crumbley in Oakland County. The Crumbleys are in the first two photos on the top line. In the middle row, center, is Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald. (52-1 District Court via AP)
The parents reportedly didn’t tell school officials their son had potential access to a weapon, which may have been inside Ethan’s backpack during the school meeting, authorities have said. Lawyers for the parents on Saturday accused prosecutors of turning the case into a “media circus” with claims about the weapon.
The parents left the school before the shooting began, authorities have said.
The parents were taken into custody following an hours-long manhunt that began Friday, not long after Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald held a news conference, where she announced that James and Jennifer Crumbley would face involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with their son’s alleged deadly outburst. The father had only recently purchased the handgun that Ethan allegedly used, according to authorities.
McDonald, elected prosecutor as a Democrat in 2020, later received criticism from Bouchard, with the sheriff suggesting that the prosecutor’s disclosure of charges prior to couple being arrested had likely spurred them to flee.
The ensuing manhunt involved several law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service, which on Friday had offered rewards of $10,000 each for the capture of the Crumbley parents.
Lawyers for the parents claimed at one point Friday that the Crumbleys planned to surrender, but Bouchard dismissed that claim Saturday, citing the serious charges the parents faced.
“We don’t wait for that when we have serious charges like felonies,” Bouchard told reporters, according to the Post. “You can turn yourself in, you can go to court, you can come to any one of our substations, but we’re going to go look for you immediately.”
“We don’t wait … when we have serious charges like felonies … We’re going to go look for you immediately.”
Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Oakland County, Michigan.
Ethan Crumbley on Wednesday was charged as an adult with murder and terrorism offenses in connection with the deadly shootings. A Michigan state law enacted in 2002 defines terrorism as an attempt to intimidate or coerce community members or government, the AP reported.
Teen denied bail
Defense attorney Scott Kozak entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client.
The teen was denied bail and transferred to jail from a juvenile detention facility after successful arguments by assistant prosecutor Marc Keast, according to the AP. The defendant could get life in prison if convicted.
On Friday, James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged with involuntary manslaughter. After they were arrested Saturday they entered pleas of not guilty via an online hearing, with a judge setting bond at $500,000 for each parent.
Both parents could face 15 years in prison if convicted, former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Fox News on Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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