A judge on Tuesday denied a motion to reduce the bonds of the jailed parents of a Michigan teenager charged with a shooting at Oxford High School that left four of his classmates dead.
Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews said the actions of James and Jennifer Crumbley before their Dec. 4 arrest at a commercial building in Detroit were intended to conceal their whereabouts.
“The defendants indicate that they were devastated when they heard about their son’s alleged actions, felt unsafe in their home, felt hounded by the press and felt it necessary to leave,” Matthews said. . “The timeline of events after the defendants left their homes is not consistent with cooperation with law enforcement.”
The Crumbleys had disappeared the day before – after being charged with manslaughter. The parents are accused of failing to keep a gun safe at home and failing to take reasonable care of their son when he showed signs of mental distress. They pleaded not guilty.
“After a warrant is issued, law enforcement is not required to make an appointment with an accused,” Matthews said. “It is the job of the police to ensure a quick, safe and secure arrest. The actions of the defendants were premeditated to conceal their whereabouts. »
The Crumbleys’ lawyers had requested that their bonds be lowered from $500,000 each to $100,000 each. They said they would appeal Matthews’ decision on bail and seek a change of venue as the case heads to trial, which is tentatively set to begin Oct. 24.
“The Crumbleys were absolutely shocked parents who had no reason to foresee what was to come,” defense attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman wrote earlier.
The Oakland County District Attorney’s Office objected to a lower bond for the Crumbleys, noting that a similar request was denied by a lower court judge.
“The claim that they weren’t trying to flee is not credible,” prosecutor Karen McDonald told reporters after Tuesday’s hearing. “Surrender is always the best way. You cannot try to run away from prosecution and pretend that you will always come back to a court date.
Ethan Crumbley, who turns 16 next week, is charged with murder and other crimes. Four students were killed and others were injured in the Nov. 30 shooting.
McDonald said Tuesday his office has spent the past several weeks meeting with parents of Oxford High students who died and those whose children were injured. They also met students who survived the attack.
“The only thing they really want is certainty and they want to know that the Crumbleys will be held accountable for their actions,” McDonald told reporters. “There’s a lot of things that this community goes through, and your kid getting shot at school is something that I don’t think we’re really wired to understand.”
None of this should affect the couple’s right to a fair trial, she added.
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