Parents of Michigan school shooting lose bail reduction offer

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A teenager accused of killing four students at their Michigan high school waived a key hearing on Friday, moving their case straight to trial court, while a judge denied a request by their parents to lower their $500,000 bond and bail them out jail.


What do you want to know

  • Ethan Crumbley, the teenager accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school, waived a key hearing on Friday, moving his case directly to a trial court
  • Also on Friday, a judge denied a request by Crumbley’s parents – who are charged with manslaughter – to lower their bond by $500,000 and release them from jail.
  • The elder Crumbleys are accused of making a gun available to their son and refusing to take him home on the day of the shooting despite warnings from school staff

Prosecutors have vigorously opposed lower bail for James and Jennifer Crumbley, who are charged with manslaughter in the deaths at Oxford High School. They countered with further examples of parents’ alleged failure to get help for Ethan Crumbley before the Nov. 30 shooting.

“He was fascinated by firearms. He was violent. He displayed terrifying tendencies and behaviors,” Assistant District Attorney Marc Keast said. “He literally sketched out what he intended to do in his diary and drawings.”

Earlier in 2021, Ethan told his mother in text messages that he thought “there was a demon or a ghost or someone else inside the house,” Keast said. “These were not one-time messages. He repeatedly sent what he perceived to his mother, who sometimes did not answer for hours.

The elder Crumbleys are accused of making a gun accessible to their son and refusing to take him home on the day of the shooting when school counselors confronted them with distressing drawings of violence.

Judge Julie Nicholson refused to reduce the parents’ bond to $100,000, noting they did not surrender after the charges against them were announced on December 3.

Separately, Ethan Crumbley, 15, is billed as an adult with murder and other crimes. Earlier Friday, he waived a key evidentiary hearing and agreed to send his case directly to an Oakland County trial court.

After the brief hearing, defense attorney Paulette Loftin told WWJ-AM that a plea deal down the road was a “definite possibility,” although “it’s too early to move into that phase.”

Lawyers for the parents said they weren’t trying to flee in early December, despite having $6,000 in cash and several phones and credit cards when they were arrested at an art studio in Detroit.

“The last thing they expected was for a school shooting to happen or for their son to be responsible for it,” defense attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman said in a court filing.

Students at Oxford High are expected to return to school next week for the first time since the shooting, but in a different building. The high school, located about 50 kilometers north of Detroit, could reopen during the week of January 23.

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