DETROIT – James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the teen charged in the Oxford High School shooting, pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges on Saturday morning, hours after police said they were found in a commercial building in Detroit and taken into custody.
A judge, citing her concern that the couple did not appear at an arraignment Friday, set bond at $500,000 each, substantially more than defense attorneys asked for. James Crumbley, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, appeared in court via video from the Oakland County Jail.
Jennifer Crumbley seemed to be in tears and struggled at times to reply to questions from the judge. James Crumbley was confused when the prosecutor claimed that their son had complete access to the gun used for the murders.
Each was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said they bought the firearm for their son, Ethan Crumbley, 15, as a Christmas gift. He is accused of killing four students and injuring seven people at the suburban Detroit high school on Tuesday.
U.S. Marshals Service All posters “Wanted”, and offered a reward for information leading to the Crumbleys’ arrests. They were found and arrested early Saturday in Detroit, a little more than two hours after someone saw their vehicle and called police.
Attorneys for the Crumbleys stated in court on Saturday that their clients had not fled and that it was due to miscommunication.
Shannon Smith (one of the couple’s lawyers) stated that “our clients were absolutely going in to surrender.” “It was simply a matter logistics.”
Oakland County Sheriff’s Office was responsible for investigating the shootings as well as the search to find the Crumbleys. Mike McCabe from Oakland County was able to confirm that the car was located around 11:30 PM on Friday.
Around 1:45 am, the Crumbleys was under arrest. The couple were found hiding inside a commercial building and were “distressed,” Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters. He said that they were not armed.
White claimed that the police think someone allowed the Crumbleys to enter the building. White said that anyone who assisted the couple may face criminal charges.
Judge Julie Nicholson, Rochester Hills District Court raised concerns regarding flight risk prior to setting bond.
Nicholson stated that the charges were “very, very serious.” The court is concerned about flight risks and public safety in light of the events that took place yesterday. It also noted that the defendants had to be arrested to make it possible for them to appear at arraignment.
The gun used in the shooting had been stored in an unlocked drawer in their house, and Crumbley’s parents did not ask where it was when they were called to the school the day of the shooting for a disturbing drawing their son made of a firearm, McDonald said at a news conference Friday.
Ethan Crumbley had posted about the firearm online and researched ammunition while at school, McDonald said the investigation revealed. After the meeting, he was allowed to come back to class the day after the shooting.
Crumbley, an adult charged with murder, terror and other offences in a systematic and deliberate massacre was charged on Wednesday.
“The facts of this case are so egregious,” McDonald said.
The parents of Crumbley were represented by lawyers who contested the claim that their son had unlocked the gun. Smith stated that it is “absolutely false” that the son of Crumbleys has access to the gun.
The couple’s attorneys, Smith and Mariell Lehman, released a statement before the arraignment, reading in part: “While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges in this case are intended to make an example and send a message. … We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion. “We know the truth and the whole story will win in the end.”
Experts agree that it is rare to find parents who are shooters charged.Michigan school shooting was’so horrific’ that parents were charged.
Michigan School Shooting Suspect is facing Life in PrisonWhat does murder and terrorism mean?
Let’s see what we have learned:
ProsecutorReport: The school officials suspected that the shooter was a student. He searched online to find ammo and created drawings.
Day of shooting: Suspect was worried about his drawing
The suspect, aged 15, was discovered looking online for ammunition before the incident. McDonald said school officials contacted his mother about the online search, leaving a voicemail and email, but received no response. Crumbley’s mother instead texted him the same day, “LOL I’m not mad at you. McDonalds stated that you must learn to avoid being caught.
Hours before the shooting, Crumbley was found with a disturbing drawing that included a a firearm and someone who appeared to be bleeding, McDonald said.
The drawing was taken by a teacher, who immediately called Crumbley’s family. McDonald’s said that Crumbley altered the drawing after it was presented to him and Crumbley’s parents.
Crumbley was allowed to go back to class after a counselor informed his parents. His parents did not ask him about the firearm at that time, nor did they search his backpack, McDonald said.
McDonald’s added, “Ofcourse, he shouldn’t have returned to that classroom.”
After reports of the shooting, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, “Ethan don’t do it,” McDonald said. James Crumbley drove home to search for the firearm and called 911 to report it missing, saying he believed his son was the shooter, McDonald said.
“I feel angry for my mother. “I’m mad at the prosecutor. I feel angry for the people who live in this area. I’m angry. McDonald’s stated that there were many things that could be prevented.
Parents and schools are facing a slew of copycat threats in Metro Detroit.
Copycat threats circulated on social media and districts canceled classes Thursday out of caution for students’ safety.
A 17-year-old student in Southfield, about 30 miles from Oxford High School, was arrested Thursday with a semi-automatic pistol. A bomb threat was made at South Lake High School, about 45 miles from Oxford, and prompted a police investigation.
“If you’re making threats, we’re going to find you,” Bouchard said in a news conference Thursday that was specifically called to address the estimated hundreds of reported copycat threats. “It is ridiculous you’re inflaming the fears and passion of parents, teachers, and the community in the midst of a real tragedy.”
Also, the FBI and Secret Service investigated threats.
People who make threats could face charges of false threat of terrorism, a 20-year felony, and misdemeanor malicious use of a telephone, McDonald said.
Parents are trying to find a balance between ensuring the security of their children and not compromising their mental or emotional well-being.
Jill Dillon (51) recalls dropping her 14 year-old son at school Wednesday morning. “I felt like i was going to throw it up.” “It was nauseating, thinking that I’m supposed to be taking him someplace safe – and is he really going to be safe?”
David Roden, a 14-year-old freshman at Northville High School, which stayed open Thursday, said the confusion of what’s real and what’s not was the scariest part.
Everyone was nervous. “It’s kinda weird to be so close to this situation.”
— Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press
False Instagram accounts multiplied
Fake social media accounts claiming to be the 15-year-old charged in the shooting began popping up even before his name was released by law enforcement, and some made threats about additional shootings and plans for revenge.
While direct threats may lead to criminal charges, the spread of false information via deceiving accounts is a common problem in the wake of mass shootings, often is not illegal and sometimes does not violate social media platforms’ terms of service.
“Unfortunately, poor taste is not against the law,” said Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police.
It is unlikely any social media accounts that chronicled Crumbley’s actions remain active on these platforms, said Cliff Lampe, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information.
Lampe stated that suspects’ social media accounts are removed in active threats situations. Law enforcement or platforms alert them.
The tendency of social media platforms to make some user accounts “disappear in the night” can help feed the creation of fake accounts, Lampe said. But the common practice of setting up “sock puppets” online would happen regardless, he said.
“Sock puppet accounts and spoof accounts have been part of internet culture for almost as long as the internet has been around,” Lampe said. You can read more about it here.
– Ashley Nerbovig, Detroit Free Press
Contributors: Darcie Moran; Tyler J. Davis; Phoebe Wall Howard; Elisha Anderson; Paul Egan; Detroit Free Press; Christine Fernando; USA TODAY; The Associated Press