A judge has ordered the parents of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing four students at his Michigan high school to stand trial on manslaughter charges.
Rochester Hills District Court Judge Julie Nicholson said following Thursday’s preliminary examination for Jennifer and James Crumbley that she had found enough evidence to send their case to circuit court.
They are accused of providing the teenager with the weapon used in the shooting and failing to intervene when he showed signs of mental distress at home and at school.
Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and firearms charges in the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School, about 50 miles north of Detroit. In addition to the four students killed, six other students and a teacher were injured.
The gun used in the shooting was given to Ethan Crumbley as an early Christmas present, prosecutors said.
Lawyers for the Crumbleys insisted the couple had no idea their son might be planning an attack and did not make the gun easy to find in their home.
On the morning of the shooting, Ethan’s parents were called to school and confronted with his drawings, which included a handgun and the words, “Thoughts won’t stop.” Help me.” Authorities said the parents refused to take him home after the 13-minute meeting.
A day before the shooting, the school left a voicemail for Jennifer Crumbley informing her that a teacher was concerned that Ethan had searched for ammunition online using his phone. A sheriff’s office computer crimes investigator testified on February 8 during the couple’s preliminary examination that she then asked her son in a text message if he had “at least” shown school officials a photo of the gun the parents had given Ethan as an early Christmas present.
The Crumbleys are jailed on $500,000 bail. The case against them is highly unusual as parents are rarely held criminally responsible for teenagers accused of mass school shootings.
Last month, lawyers for Ethan Crumbley filed a notice of insanity defense.
He is housed alone in a cell in the Oakland County Jail Clinic to prevent him from seeing and hearing adult inmates. Defense attorneys want him transferred to a juvenile facility, but prosecutors say he would pose a potential risk of harming the safety of other minors.
An Oakland County Circuit Court judge told a hearing for Ethan Crumbley on Tuesday that he expected to have a ruling early next week on whether the teenager would stay in adult prison or would be transferred to the county children’s village.