Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect held on $500,000 bond each after manhunt - CNN
Dec 04, 2021 2 mins, 51 secs
A judge in Michigan's Oakland County set bond at $500,000 each for James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the teen jailed on suspicion killing four schoolmates and wounding seven other people at Oxford High School on Tuesday.

The detained couple, sitting alone in separate rooms, made their arraignment appearance by video conference with the judge, their attorneys and the county prosecutor.

Both spoke little beyond saying they understood each charge -- with Jennifer Crumbley appearing to cry between words -- and pleaded "not guilty" to each.

During the arraignment, their attorneys stressed their clients had fully intended to turn themselves in before authorities arrested them Saturday morning, and denied prosecutors' assertions that their son had unrestricted access to the gun he's accused of using.

James and Jennifer Crumbley had been charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter over Tuesday's shooting, and were supposed to attend an arraignment Friday afternoon, authorities said.

But they missed the Friday arraignment, making them fugitives and setting off a search for them, authorities said.

Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17.

Parents' attorney says 'the gun was locked,' and son didn't have free access

During Saturday's arraignment, defense lawyers denied prosecutors' contentions that the parents gave Ethan Crumbley unfettered access to the gun he's accused of using.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald has alleged that James Crumbley on November 26 bought the gun at a store in Oxford, and that the parents gave the weapon to their son as an early Christmas present.

During Saturday's arraignment, McDonald said, "It's ...

clear from the facts that (Ethan Crumbley) had total access to this weapon," and that the parents "didn't secure (the gun) and they allowed him free access to it."

James Crumbley shook his head as McDonald made both statements.

One of the parents' attorneys, Shannon Smith, countered during the hearing that "the gun was actually locked."

"When the prosecution is stating that this child had free access to a gun, that is just absolutely not true," Smith said.

Law enforcement were tracking the couple's whereabouts by cell phone pings, but that signal had dropped because the couple's cell phones were turned off, the official said.

On Saturday, McDonald cited the ATM withdrawal and "attempts to hide their location" as reasons to set bond at $500,000 each.

"These are not people that we could be assured will return to court on their own," McDonald said.

One of the couple's attorneys had earlier stated that the Crumbleys had left town for their own safety and were returning for their arraignment.

At Saturday's hearing, Crumbley attorney Smith said she and her colleagues "called the prosecutor's office throughout the day (Friday) and never got a call back," and that "we were going to make arrangements to have our clients turn themselves in." Smith also claimed she didn't know the precise time of Friday's arraignment.

"They were scared; they were terrified; they were not at home; they were figuring out what to do, getting finances in order," Smith said Saturday.

By night, the defense attorneys made plans with the Crumbleys to turn them in to authorities Saturday morning, Smith said.

"We did not announce it, because unlike the prosecution, we weren't attempting to make this a media spectacle," she said.

McDonald countered that "these defendants did not need my permission" to turn themselves in.

The Crumbleys' attorneys asked for bonds of $50,000 or $100,000.

The couple is being held in the same county jail as their son.


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