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 Detroit commercial building and taken into custody.

A judge, citing her concern that the couple did not appear at a Friday arraignment, 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 looked sad and sometimes struggled to answer the judge’s questions. James Crumbley looked confused after a prosecution claimed their son had access to all the guns used in the shootings.

Each were 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 fatally shooting four students and injuring seven others at the suburban Detroit high school on Tuesday.

U.S. Marshals Service will be open Friday Marshals Service Posters in the “Wanted” category were distributed and offered a reward for information leading to the Crumbleys arrests. They were located and arrested early Saturday in Detroit, a little more than two hours after a citizen saw their vehicle and called police.

The Crumbleys’ attorneys said in the Saturday court appearance their clients were not fleeing and the missed court appearance was a result of 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 was found hiding inside a commercial building and were “distressed,” Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters. They weren’t armed, he said.

White stated that police suspect someone let the Crumbleys in to the building. White stated that those involved in helping the couple might face criminal prosecution.

Before setting Saturday bond, Judge Julie Nicholson from Rochester Hills District Court raised concerns regarding “flight risk”.

Nicholson stated that the charges were “very, very serious.” Given the facts that happened yesterday, the court has concerns about both the flight risk and the safety of the public. The fact that defendants were required to be arrested in order for them to appear before the court to arraign them is also a concern.

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. McDonald said that Ethan Crumbley was permitted to return to class the day after the meeting with the parents.  

Crumbley, an adult charged with murder, terror and other offences in a systematic and deliberate massacre was brought to trial Wednesday by investigators.

Jennifer Crumbley

“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 claimed that Smith was wrong to claim their son had “free access” and the gun is his.

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 say that parents of shooters are rarely charged with any chargesMichigan School Shooting is “so horrendous” that the parents of the suspect are being charged.

Michigan School Shooting Suspect is facing Life in PrisonWhat do murder, terrorist charges mean?

Let’s see what we have learned:

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley who was allegedly involved in the school shooting that killed 4 students and injured seven others at Oxford High School earlier this week, were arrested in a building in Detroit early Saturday.

ProsecutorOfficials at school knew that the shooting suspect had searched online for ammo and made drawings.

The drawing of the suspect prompted concerns on day one

The victim, a 15-year old boy, was also found searching 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.

McDonalds said, “Ofcourse he shouldn’t be going back to that class.”

After reports of the shooting at the school, 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. As a prosecutor, I am angry. As a resident of this county, I am angry. I’m angry. McDonald’s stated that there were many things that could be prevented.

Parents are being warned about a slew of copycat threats that have been made to schools 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 also 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 during a news conference Thursday that was specifically called to address the estimated hundreds of copycat threats reported. “It is ridiculous you’re inflaming the fears and passion of parents, teachers, and the community in the midst of a real tragedy.”

Both the FBI and Secret Service investigate threats. 

McDonald’s stated that false threats may lead to false threat of terrorist charges. This is a 20-year sentence felony as well as misdemeanor malicious use of the telephone.

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 vomit,” she said. “It was very nauseating thinking I should be taking him somewhere safe. And is that really what he will be doing?

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 anxious. He said, “It’s kinda weird being so close to the situation.”

— Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press

Insta scam accounts are multiplying

Fake social media accounts claiming to be the 15-year-old charged in the Oxford High School 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 alleged criminal activity remain active on these platforms, said Cliff Lampe, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information. 

Lampe stated that in active threats situations the accounts on social media of suspected perpetrators can be taken down using an opaque process. The platforms are alerted by either their algorithms or law enforcement.

The tendency of social media platforms to make some user accounts “disappear in the night” can help feed the creation of these fake accounts, Lampe said. However, 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

Contributing: Darcie Morris, Tyler J. Davis and Phoebe Wall Howard. Elisha Anderson, Paul Egan. Detroit Free Press. Christine Fernando. USA TODAY. The Associated Press



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