Parents of Michigan High School Shooting Suspect Pleaded Not Guilty

  • Jennifer and James Crumbley each plead not guilty on Saturday to four counts of involuntary manslaughter. 
  • They are each being held on a $500,000 bond after their attorneys argued they are not flight risks. 
  • The couple was set to be arraigned Friday afternoon but failed to appear and fled, setting off an hours-long police search. 

The parents of the Michigan high school shooting suspect who were charged with involuntary manslaughter pleaded not guilty at a hearing on Saturday morning, according to the Associated Press. 

Prosecutors announced that they charged Jennifer and James Crumbley on Friday. Authorities have identified the couple’s 15-year-old son, Ethan, as a suspect in the shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday that killed four students and injured seven other people.

The Crumbleys were declared fugitives before their arrest. They had been charged Friday morning with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter and were set to be arraigned Friday afternoon. When the Crumbleys failed to appear in court, they set off an hours-long search by law enforcement before they were arrested in Detroit early Saturday morning. 

The couple’s 15-year-old son, Ethan Crumbley, had been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and a terrorism-related charge in relation to the shooting, which left four students dead and several others injured.

Each parent is being held on a $500,000 bond, despite their lawyers’ attempts to claim they were not flight risks. 

Prosecutor Karen McDonald said the “likelihood of conviction is strong” and argued that the Crumbleys gave their son “full access” to the weapon with which he is accused of using to kill four of his classmates. 

“This is a very serious, horrible, terrible murder and shooting, and it has affected the entire community. These two individuals could have stopped it, and they had every reason to know that he was dangerous. They gave him a weapon, and they didn’t secure it, and they allowed him free access to it,” McDonald said. 

Defense attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman argued that the weapon was locked and that their clients were not fleeing but getting their affairs in order. 

“They were terrified. They were not at home. They were figuring out what to do,” Smith said. “Our clients were absolutely going to turn themselves in. It was just a matter of logistics.” 

In a joint statement ahead of the arrangement, Smith and Lehman blamed “misinformation that has been rampant in the media” for the narrative that their clients fled. 

“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,” the statement said. “We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion.”

Jake Epstein contributed to this report. 

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