The parents of the Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley broke down in court as their charges were read aloud Saturday morning.
James, 45, and Jennifer, 43, Crumbley were captured early on Saturday in the basement of a building on the 1100 block of Bellevue Street in Detroit, less than half a mile from the Canadian border, police said. They were taken into custody after leading authorities on a large-scale manhunt.
Both the Crumbleys pled not guilty to all four charges of involuntary manslaughter – one for each high school student who was killed in the school shooting Tuesday.
Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison along with a $7,500 fine and mandatory DNA testing.
Judge Julie Nicholson announced that their bond must be paid in full, and they will be required to wear a GPS tether if they make bail. The couple has been booked at Oakland County Jail and remained there following the arraignment.
James and Jennifer were arraigned first around 9:30 a.m. as they joined the video conference from separate rooms at the jail. They called into the 52nd District Court, 3rd Division District Court with their legal counsel Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman.
Both Crumbleys broke down as Jennifer’s charges and potential jail time was read by the judge. Jennifer was noticeably distraught and sat hunched over with her face in her hands for most of the virtual meeting.
‘I understand,’ Jennifer replied through tears as Nicholson read each charge. James shook his head in disagreement as prosecutor Karen McDonald summarized her version of the case implicating the parents in their son’s deadly rampage.
‘These two individuals could have stopped it and had every reason to know he was dangerous,’ McDonald said. She claimed that not one person in the community would vouch in favor of either Crumbley.
But Smith denied that the Crumbleys had any responsibility for their son’s alleged crimes. She adamantly declared that it is ‘absolutely not true’ that they gave their child ‘free access’ to the weapon he used to kill several students at his Michigan high school.
The defendant’s legal counsel noted the Crumbleys’ employment and quickly brushed over their past criminal history in a plea for bail to be set.
Smith and Lehman denied that their clients were attempting to flee prosecution and told the judge that they plan to fight the charges.
Smith claimed that the ‘facts that have been presented have been cherry-picked’ by the prosecution ‘to make an example’ out of the Crumbleys.
The Crumbleys will be required to appear in person for the probable cause conference on the afternoon of December 14. The preliminary examination will take place on the morning of December 22.