Prosecutors to Crumbleys: Stop Blowing Kisses in Court

Parents of accused school shooter Ethan Crumbley are told to stop broadcasting romantic signals
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2022 9:01 AM CST
Prosecutors to Crumbleys: Stop Blowing Kisses in Court
This image from 52-3 District Court shows James Crumbley blowing a kiss to his wife, Jennifer Crumbley, during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Jan. 7, 2022.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(Newser) – The parents of the teen accused of shooting up a Michigan high school in November, killing four students, may be trying to boost each other up during hearings by sending romantic signals across the courtroom and over Zoom, but they're now being hit with a warning to quit it. Prosecutors filed a motion Tuesday in Oakland County District Court asking the judge in the case of James and Jennifer Crumbley, both charged with involuntary manslaughter, to order the couple to cut it out. In both online and in-person court appearances in December and January, prosecutors say, the Crumbleys waved at each other and "made other non-verbal signals," reports NBC News.

The motion notes that at one such meeting in December, James Crumbley, "with his mask partially pulled down, mouthed what appeared to be 'I love you'" to his wife, per the Detroit News. "The courtroom is not a place for blowing kisses and sending secret signals," said Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor David Williams in a statement, noting such gestures make a "mockery" of the couple's alleged crimes. "This is a time for families to pursue justice." The motion adds that family members of those who died in the Oxford High School shooting have been asking why the couple is allowed to be so lovey-dovey during court proceedings, and that the gestures are "traumatic" for them.

One attorney not linked to the case, however, thinks the motion is "ludicrous," saying the mouthed comments took place during a break in official proceedings and that the Crumbleys have a right to communicate with each other. Prosecutors have accused the Crumbleys of ignoring red flags about their son in the weeks leading up to the shooting, instead focusing on financial issues, substance abuse problems, and Jennifer Crumbley's alleged extramarital affairs.

While attorneys for the couple haven't publicly commented on the prosecutors' request, the motion notes they've "indicated a willingness" to tell their clients to halt their courtroom signaling. Their son, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, has been charged as an adult and is facing 24 counts, including first-degree murder. All three have pleaded not guilty, per the Detroit Free Press. (Read more Ethan Crumbley stories.)

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