Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect plead ‘not guilty’ to manslaughter charges

The parents of a Michigan teen accused of killing four classmates with a gun his mom and dad bought for him have pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges.

Jennifer and James Crumbley each face four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Tuesday rampage blamed on their 15-year-old son, Ethan. Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Appearing via video before Oakland County District Court Judge Julie Nicholson, Jennifer Crumbley seemed to be holding back tears as she said she understood the charges against her, and entered four pleas of “not guilty.”

James Cromley, 45, who was initially more stoic than his wife, calmly said he understood the charges and entered four pleas of “not guilty.” But over the course of the hearing, he appeared at times to get more emotional and appeared to be crying. 

Nicholson set bond for each at $500,000. If the Crumbleys post bond, they will have to wear GPS monitors.

The parents are due back in court Dec. 14.

Ethan Crumbley’s shooting left four dead.
Oakland County Sheriff’s Office via AP

The couple was arrested early Saturday after dodging authorities for hours after the charges were filed. Police said they were tipped off that the fugitives were hiding out in a commercial building about 50 miles north of their Oxford, Michigan, home.

A growing memorial is pictured outside Oxford High School, following the shooting there.
A growing memorial is pictured outside Oxford High School, following the shooting there.

Their attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, claimed they were in contact with the prosecutor’s office Friday and had made arrangements for the Crumbleys to turn themselves in when they fled. 

They asked the judge Saturday for a $50,000 bond for each of them, claiming the couple were not flight risks. 

“They were never fleeing prosecution,” Lehman told the judge.

Ethan was charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder, terrorism and seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and held without bail. He is due back in court Dec. 13.

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