Prosecutors: Crumbleys Focused on Affairs, Horses Instead of Depressed Son

They're pushing back against move to have bail lowered to $100K
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2021 8:40 AM CST
Prosecutors: Crumbleys Focused on Affairs, Horses Instead of Depressed Son
This booking photo released by the Oakland County Sheriff's Office shows Ethan Crumbley, 15, who is charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured more at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich.   (Oakland County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Newser) – As four devastated families in Michigan face a first Christmas without their children, prosecutors are pushing back hard against a request from the parents of alleged school shooter Ethan Crumbley to have their bail lowered. In court papers filed Thursday, prosecutors accused James and Jennifer Crumbley of ignoring red flags in the weeks before the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School and concentrating on their own issues instead of their troubled son, the Detroit Free Press reports. Prosecutors said those issues included substance abuse, financial problems, and "seeking other relationships," including Jennifer Crumbley's extramarital affairs. They said the parents spent several hours a night, three or four nights a week, at a barn caring for their horses.

Oakland County prosecutors said that in the weeks before the shooting, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley's only friend moved away, the family dog died, and "he was sending his mother disturbing texts about his state of mind," the Detroit News reports. He was also torturing animals and left a baby bird's head in a jar in a school bathroom, prosecutors said. His parents knew he was depressed and fascinated with guns, but "instead of paying attention to their son and getting him help, they bought him a gun," prosecutors said. They said their bonds should not be lowered from $500,000 each to $100,000 because they are "a greater risk of flight now than they were at the time of arraignment," having sold their horses and put their home for sale.

Prosecutors also said the Crumbleys had seen their son watching violent videos of shootings on the morning of Nov. 30—but when they were called to the school, they did not disclose that he had access to a gun, or ask him where it was. The parents, who have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, will have a bond hearing Jan. 7. The Free Press notes that Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald has acknowledged that the prosecution is unusual and there has been some "pushback" in her office, but she feels it is warranted. "I want to be really clear that these charges are intended to hold individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send a message that gun owners have a responsibility," she said. (Read more Ethan Crumbley stories.)

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