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 his case straight to a trial court, while a judge denied a request from his parents to lower their bail by $500,000 and get them out of jail.

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.

This undated combination of photos provided by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office shows James Crumbley, left, and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four college students in a shooting at high school in Oxford, Michigan. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Bureau via AP, File)

This booking photo released by the Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff's Office shows Ethan Crumbley, who is charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four classmates and injured a others at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. (Oakland County Sheriff's Office via AP, file)

This booking photo released by the Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff’s Office shows Ethan Crumbley, who is charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four classmates and injured a others at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office via AP, file)

“He was fascinated with guns. 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.”

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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 weren’t one-time messages. He would repeatedly send what he perceived to his mother, who sometimes wouldn’t respond for hours.”

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 when school counselors confronted them with distressing drawings of violence.

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

This image from District Court 52-3 shows Ethan Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows Ethan Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows James and Jennifer Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows James and Jennifer Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows Jennifer Crumbley greeting her husband James during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows Jennifer Crumbley greeting her husband James during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Separately, Ethan Crumbley, 15, is charged 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.

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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 multiple phones and credit cards when they were arrested at an art studio in Detroit.

This image from District Court 52-3 shows James and Jennifer Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows James and Jennifer Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows Jennifer Crumbley signing a message to her husband James during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows Jennifer Crumbley signing a message to her husband James during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows Jennifer Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

This image from District Court 52-3 shows Jennifer Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Michigan on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

“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.

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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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