Michigan couple pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges in school shooting

The parents of a Michigan student who is accused of killing four classmates and wounding seven others during a mass shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday pled not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

James and Jennifer Crumbley appeared for an arraignment at an Oakland court Saturday morning after they were apprehended by police in Detroit and detained in the Oakland County Jail.

Prosecutors charged the couple with involuntary manslaughter after it was revealed that their 15-year-old son took the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun he used in the mass shooting from their home.

The bond for each individual was set at $500,000, and the Crumbleys were ordered to turn in any firearms they have.

The probable cause conference is set for Dec. 14, and the preliminary examination is on Dec. 22., the judge said.

Their couple's son, Ethan Crumbley, is being held without bond and is charged with several felony counts, including one count of terrorism.

The couple had bought the Sig Sauer handgun Ethan Crumbley used in the shooting from Acme Shooting Goods. After the purchase, Jennifer Crumbley posted a photo on social media suggesting it was a Christmas present for their son.

The school also notified the parents when Ethan Crumbley searched for ammunition on his phone during class and drew a handgun and a bloody victim on a piece of paper, accompanied by the words "blood everywhere."

During the arraignment, lead prosecutor Karen McDonald said there was "hundreds and hundreds of hours of digital evidence" to submit to the court.

"This is a very serious, horrible, terrible murder and shooting, and it has affected the entire community," McDonald said. "And these two individuals could have stopped it. They had every reason [to believe] that he was dangerous, and they gave him a [gun], and they didn't secure it, and they allowed him free access to it."

Defense attorney Shannon Smith said the gun was actually locked in the house, and she argued that the facts the prosecution presented were "incomplete."

"It does sound like an absolutely egregious wrongdoing on the part of Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley, that they gave their child a gun and encouraged him to do this," she said. "That's just not the case. Mrs. Crumbley is presumed innocent."

Mariell Lehman, a second defense attorney for the couple, said she and the Crumbleys were "devastated by the events in Oxford" but were "prepared to defend this case."

"The facts that have been presented by McDonald and her office have been cherry-picked to further her narrative of making an example of Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley," she said.

The prosecution and defense also sparred over the couple's flight from Oakland last night.

The couple disappeared on Friday afternoon and were arrested at approximately 1:45 a.m. on Saturday after police found them hiding inside a commercial building in Detroit, according to the Detroit Free Press. A citizen had called the police after seeing the Crumbleys' vehicle outside.

The attorneys said they had texted McDonald and the prosecution team to make them aware the couple left for their own safety and would be turning themselves in for the arraignment.

But McDonald pointed to suspicious behavior — explaining the couple withdrew $4,000 from an ATM in Rochester Hills.

"They could have turned themselves in with no evidence and no efforts on behalf of law enforcement," she said. "Instead, they fled."

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