Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect plead not guilty to manslaughter – .

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Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect plead not guilty to manslaughter – .


Dec. 4 (Reuters) – A Michigan judge set bail at $ 500,000 each for the parents of a teenager accused of murdering four high school classmates with a gun the couple bought him as a Christmas present, after authorities arrested the couple on Saturday following a manhunt.

Appearing by video link from prison for their indictment, James and Jennifer Crumbley both pleaded not guilty to four counts of manslaughter.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told the hearing the Crumbleys withdrew $ 4,000 from an ATM while authorities tracked them down and remained a flight risk.

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“These are not people who we can be sure will come back to court on their own,” she said.

Authorities began searching for the couple after Oakland County prosecutors said Friday they would be charged with manslaughter in connection with the mass shooting on campus. Prosecutors said the Crumbleys bought the handgun for their son as a Christmas present, then ignored warning signs, including the day of the shooting.

The Michigan school shooting is just the latest such incident in the United States, where elected officials have debated how to make schools safer for children as attacks have grown. common in recent decades.

Judge Julie Nicholson said on Saturday she had “some concern about the risk of absconding” posed by the couple after they failed to show up for Friday’s arraignment.

Two lawyers for the Crumbleys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, said the couple never sought to escape authorities.

“Our customers were absolutely going to surrender,” Smith said during Saturday’s hearing. “It was just a matter of logistics. “

Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters in the early hours of Saturday that the couple were found hiding in a commercial building east of the city. He said they did not break into the building, but were let in by someone.

White said a member of the public spotted their vehicle outside the building.

The couple’s son, Ethan Crumbley, 15, is being held without bail and has been charged as an adult suspected of committing the deadliest American school shooting of 2021 on Tuesday at Oxford High School, about 60 km north of Detroit.

Crumbley’s parents were scheduled to appear for arraignment on Friday afternoon, but stopped responding to calls from their lawyers, according to Oakland County Deputy Sheriff Mike McCabe, which sparked a search by the office of the Sheriff and the US Marshals Service.

Jennifer Lynn Crumbley and James Robert Crumbley, parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Robert Crumbley, 15, appear from Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan, United States, on December 4, 2021, during a ‘a virtual hearing on manslaughter charges, in this image capture. Oakland County Court / Document via REUTERS

During the arraignment, Jennifer Crumbley sobbed as the judge read the names of the students killed in the shooting and related charges.

The judge set the preliminary hearings for December 14 and 22.

PURCHASE OF FIREARMS

Four days before the shooting, Ethan accompanied his father to an armory, where James Crumbley purchased a 9mm handgun, prosecutors said.

Michigan law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from buying or owning firearms except in limited circumstances such as hunting with a license and a supervising adult.

Ethan posted photos of the gun to social media, writing, “I just had my new beauty today” and adding a heart emoji. The next day, her mother announced that they were both at a shooting range “testing out her new Christmas present,” Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said.

McDonald’s detailed a number of other warning signs that she says parents haven’t acted on.

On November 21, a teacher found Ethan Crumbley searching his phone for ammunition and alerted school officials, who left messages for his mother that were not returned. Later, his mother texted him, “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught. “

On the morning of the shooting, a teacher discovered drawings by Ethan Crumbley that depicted a handgun, a bullet, and a bloody figure next to the words “Blood everywhere”, “My life is useless” and “Thoughts are failing. will not stop – help me. “

Ethan told school counselors that the designs were for a video game he was designing and that he wanted to pursue a career in video game design, according to a letter Oxford Community Schools principal Tim Throne has sent to the school community on Saturday.

“At no point did the counselors think that the student might harm others because of their demeanor, responses and demeanor, which appeared calm,” Throne said in the letter.

School officials summoned the Crumbleys and asked them to ask Ethan to consult within 48 hours, McDonald said. The parents resisted the idea of ​​bringing their son home and did not search his backpack or question him about the weapon, she said.

Throne said the couple “categorically refused” to leave with their son. Ethan Crumbley was brought back to class and then came out of a bathroom with the gun, killing four students and injuring seven others, authorities said.

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Reporting by Ted Hesson, Maria Ponnerhath, Jan Wolfe, Julia Harte and Reuters staff; Editing by Frances Kerry and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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