Oxford high school shooting: Judge denies lower bond for Crumbley parents

The Crumbleys face four counts of involuntary manslaughter each

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An Oakland County, Michigan, judge on Tuesday denied a request for lower bond from Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbely's parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley.

The Crumbleys face four counts of involuntary manslaughter each after their 15-year-old son was accused of fatally shooting four students and injuring seven others on Nov. 30  2021 at Oxford High School.

James and Jennifer Crumbley had asked for their bond to be reduced from $500,000 each to $100,000 each; Judge Cheryl Matthews denied that request, citing the pair's actions following news of their son's role in the November 2021 shooting.

Jennifer Crumbley, left, and James Crumbley, right, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School, appear in court for a preliminary examination.

Jennifer Crumbley, left, and James Crumbley, right, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School, appear in court for a preliminary examination. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

"The defendants indicate they were devastated when they heard about the alleged actions of their son, felt unsafe in their home, felt hounded by the press, and found it necessary to leave," Matthews said, according to FOX 2 Detroit. "However, the chronology of events that occurred subsequent to the defendants leaving their home is not consistent with cooperation of law enforcement."

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Local police and the U.S. Marshal Service issued search alerts for James and Jennifer Crumbley on Dec. 3 after authorities issued a warrant for their arrest, and law enforcement could not immediately locate the pair.

Their attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman told Fox News Digital at the time that the Crumbleys had "left town on the night of the tragic shooting for their own safety" and were "not feeling from law enforcement." 

Ethan Robert Crumbley, 15, charged with first-degree murder in a high school shooting, poses in a jail booking photograph taken at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan.

Ethan Robert Crumbley, 15, charged with first-degree murder in a high school shooting, poses in a jail booking photograph taken at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan. (Oakland County Sheriff)

Matthews said Tuesday that she has reason to believe the pair was fleeing the jurisdiction, according to FOX 2.

The defense argued in a motion filed last week that the defendants should be held on $100,000 each because: neither James nor Jennifer have a felony or offensive criminal record; neither has a history of substance abuse or "mental conditions"; the prosecution was allegedly unclear when initially announcing their arrests on Dec. 3; they do not have the funds to pay a total of $1 million; they have good relationships within their community; and they do not present a threat to the public.

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The defense also argued that the case, because of its novelty in charging the parents of a school shooter, will present "unprecedented" legal issues.

Prosecutors alleged that Ethan Crumbley used a pistol James Crumbley bought on Black Friday, Nov. 26. Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald referenced a social media post from Jennifer Crumbley saying she and James Crumbley purchased the pistol as a Christmas gift for their son.

James, left, and Jennifer Crumbley are shown during the video arraignment of their son, Ethan Crumbley in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.

James, left, and Jennifer Crumbley are shown during the video arraignment of their son, Ethan Crumbley in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (District Court via The Associated Press)

The defense argues that Ethan Crumbley did not have access to a gun and was "trying to find" it before the shooting, according to the Crumbleys' motion for a lower bond filed earlier this month.

McDonald also revealed in January that school officials met with Ethan Crumbley and his parents to discuss violent drawings he made just hours before the deadly rampage. 

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The 15-year-old suspect was able to convince school officials during the meeting that the concerning drawings were for a "video game." His parents "flatly refused" to take their son home, the prosecutor said at the time. Later that day, Jennifer Crumbely allegedly texted her son, "Don't do it," after the shooting had already occurred, court filings state.

Both parents pleaded not guilty at their December arraignment. 

Judge Matthews set the couple's next hearing date for Oct. 24.