DETROIT – James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the teenager charged in the Oxford High School shooting, plead not guilty to involuntary manslaughter 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 failed to show up on Friday, set the bond at $500,000 each, significantly more than the defense attorneys requested. James Crumbley, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, appeared in court by video from the Oakland County Jail.
Jennifer Crumbley seemed to cry and struggled at times to answer the judges’ questions. James Crumbley shook his head when a prosecutor said their son had full access to the gun used in the murders.
Each person is counted with four values involuntary manslaughter After Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said they bought the gun for her son, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, as a Christmas present. He is accused of killing four students and injured seven people at a suburban Detroit high school on Tuesday.
On Friday, the United States Police Department Release of “Wanted” poster and offered a reward for information leading to the Crumbleys’ arrest. They were discovered and arrested early Saturday morning in Detroit, more than two hours after someone saw their car and called the police.
The Crumbleys’ attorneys said in court on Saturday that their client did not abscond and that his absence from court was the result of miscommunication.
Shannon Smith, one of the couple’s attorneys, said: “Our clients will certainly turn themselves in. “It’s just a matter of logistics.”
The investigation into the shooting and the search for the Crumbleys is directed by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. Oakland County Sheriff Mike McCabe said the vehicle was found around 11:30 p.m. Friday.
By about 1:45 a.m., the Crumbleys were arrested. Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters. He said they were unarmed.
White said police believe someone let the Crumbleys into the building. He said those who helped the couple could face criminal charges.
Judge Julie Nicholson of Rochester Hills District Court cited concerns about flight risks prior to the deposit.
“These allegations are very, very serious, there’s no doubt about that,” Nicholson said. “The court actually has some concerns about flight risk along with public safety due to the circumstances of yesterday and the fact that the defendants had to be arrested to appear for the purpose of settlement. .”
The gun used in the shooting was stored in an unlocked drawer in their home, and Crumbley’s parents did not ask where it was when they were called to the school on the day of the shooting because of a photograph. disturbing drawing of their gun-making son, McDonald. said at a news conference on Friday.
Ethan Crumbley posted online about the gun and ammunition research while at school, McDonald said the investigation revealed. She was allowed back into the classroom on the day of the shooting after a meeting with her parents, she said.
On Wednesday, Crumbley was charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other charges that investigators described as a deliberate and methodical massacre.
“The facts of this case are too serious,” McDonald said.
Attorneys representing Crumbley’s parents argued that the Crumbleys left the gun unlocked. Smith said it was “totally incorrect” for their son to have “free access” to the gun.
The couple’s attorneys, Smith and Mariell Lehman, released a statement before the case was resolved, saying: “Although it’s human nature to want someone to blame or something to point out, it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point out. or something that gives us answers, but the allegations in this case are intended to set an example and send a message. … We intend to fight this case in the courtroom, not in the courtroom. in court of public opinion. We know that in the end the whole story and the truth will prevail.”
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The 15-year-old suspect was caught looking up ammunition online while at school before the shooting. McDonald’s said school officials contacted the boy’s mother about searching online, leaving voicemails and emails, but received no response. Instead, Crumbley’s mother texted him the same day, “LOL – League of Legends, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” McDonald said.
Hours before the shooting, Crumbley was found with a disturbing drawing that included a gun and a person who appeared to be bleeding, McDonald said.
A teacher took a photo of the drawing and immediately contacted Crumbley’s parents. When the drawing was presented to a school counselor in the presence of Crumbley and his parents, McDonald said, Crumbley modified it.
A counselor told parents their son needed counseling, but Crumbley was able to return to class. McDonald said his parents did not ask him about the gun at the time, nor did they search his backpack.
“Of course, he shouldn’t have gone back to that classroom,” McDonald added.
After reporting the shooting, Jennifer Crumbley texted her son, “Ethan don’t do that,” McDonald said. James Crumbley drove home to search for the gun and called 911 to report it missing, saying he believed his son was the shooter, McDonald said.
“I am angry as a mother. I am angry as a prosecutor. I am angry as a person who lives in this county. I am angry. There are so many things that could be so simple. to prevent,” McDonald said.
Copy threats circulating on social media and school districts canceled classes on Thursday out of an abundance of caution for student safety.
A 17-year-old student from Southfield, about 30 kilometers from Oxford High School, was arrested on Thursday with a semi-automatic pistol. A bomb threat was made at South Lake High School, about 45 miles from Oxford, and prompted an investigation by police.
“If you’re threatening, we’ll find you,” Bouchard said at a Thursday news conference specifically called to address an estimated hundreds of reported imitation threats. “It’s ridiculous that you’re fanning the fears and passions of parents, teachers and the community in the middle of a real tragedy.”
The FBI and Secret Service are also investigating the threats.
McDonald’s said those who make threats could face charges of making false terrorist threats, a 20-year felony and a charge of malicious use of a phone.
Meanwhile, parents are on the right track in ensuring their children’s security without compromising their child’s mental and emotional health.
Jill Dillon, 51, recalls dropping her 14-year-old son to school on Wednesday morning. “It’s nauseating, to think that I have to get him somewhere safe – and is he really safe?”
David Roden, a 14-year-old freshman at Northville High School, which remains open on Thursday, said the confusion between what is real and what isn’t is the scariest part.
“Everybody is competing. It’s just kind of weird, close to the situation.”
– Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press
Fake social media accounts claiming to be the 15-year-old charged in the shootings began to emerge even before his name was released by law enforcement, and some made threats of additional shootings. supplement and revenge plan.
While direct threats can lead to criminal charges, the spread of misinformation through deceptive accounts is a common problem following mass shootings, which often do not violate the law. violate the law and sometimes do not violate the terms of service of social media platforms.
“Unfortunately, poor taste is not against the law,” said Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police.
Cliff Lampe, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, said that none of the social media accounts that document Crumbley’s actions are still active on these platforms.
In active threat situations, the social media accounts of suspects are taken down through an opaque process, Lampe said. Platforms are alerted by their own algorithms or by law enforcement.
Lampe said the trend of social media platforms to make some user accounts “disappear overnight” can help create fake accounts. But the common practice of setting up “sock puppets” online will happen despite, he said.
“Puppet accounts and fake accounts have been part of internet culture for as long as the internet has,” Lampe said. Read more 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; Related press