Judge denies Crumbleys lower bond, house arrest
Their defense team argues the prosecution has “unfairly” portrayed them as bad parents.
ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (WILX) - James and Jennifer Crumbley appeared in an Oakland County court on Tuesday asking a judge to lower their bond. That request was denied.
Their son, 15-year-old Ethan, was arraigned on murder and terrorism charges a day after he allegedly shot up the school. They are being charged with manslaughter in relation to the shooting.
Their defense team argues the prosecution has “unfairly” portrayed them as bad parents, saying the “real facts” about their parenting and how they responded to the November shooting at Oxford High School have not yet been fully disclosed.
Previous coverage: Family of Oxford High School shooting victim files lawsuit against district
“Even the prosecution is changing its understanding of the facts in this case and has recognized that the Crumbleys may be found ‘not guilty,’ " defense lawyers argued in a new court filing.
However, Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews focused on their interactions with law enforcement in the days following the shooting. Mathews said that the Crumbley’s actions before their Dec. 4 arrests in a commercial building in Detroit were meant to conceal their whereabouts.
“The defendants indicate they were devastated when they heard about the alleged actions of their son, felt unsafe in their home, felt hounded by the press and found it necessary to leave,” Matthews said. “The chronology of events that occurred subsequent to the defendants leaving their home is not consistent with cooperation with law enforcement.”
James and Jennifer Crumbley disappeared after they were charged with involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of failing to keep a gun secure at home and failing to reasonably care for their son when he showed signs of mental distress. They have pleaded not guilty.
Defense lawyers have maintained that the two were not aware that their son would carry out a school shooting.
“Upon a warrant being issued, law enforcement is not required to make an appointment with a defendant,” Matthews said. “It is the job of the police to ensure a swift, safe and secure arrest. The defendants actions were premeditated to conceal their whereabouts.”
The Crumbleys’ attorneys on Tuesday requested that their bonds be lowered from $500,000 each to $100,000 each. They indicated they would appeal Matthews’ ruling on the bond.
“The Crumbleys were absolutely shocked parents who had no reason to foresee what would happen,” defense attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman wrote earlier.
The Oakland County prosecutor’s office opposed a lower bond for the Crumbleys, noting that a similar request was denied by a judge in a lower court.
Ethan Crumbley, who turns 16 next week, is charged with murder and other crimes. Four students were killed and more were injured during a shooting at Oxford High School on Nov. 30.
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