Parents of Alleged School Shooter See Request Denied

Judge refused to lower bonds for James and Jennifer Crumbley
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2022 12:29 AM CST
Updated Apr 19, 2022 10:30 AM CDT
James and Jennifer Crumbley Will Stand Trial
Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School, appear in court for a preliminary examination on involuntary manslaughter charges in Rochester Hills, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(Newser) Updated: A judge in Michigan has denied a request from the parents of an alleged school shooter to have their own bonds reduced from $500,000 each to $100,000 each, reports the AP. The upshot of the decision is that it appears James and Jennifer Crumbley will remain locked up on their separate charges of involuntary manslaughter. Among other things, they are accused of not properly securing the gun allegedly used by son Ethan. An earlier story from February follows:

The parents of the alleged Oxford High School shooter will stand trial on manslaughter charges, a judge decided Thursday on the second day of their preliminary examination hearing. "The court finds that the deaths of the four victims could have been avoided if James and Jennifer Crumbley exercised ordinary care and diligence in the care of their son," she said in her decision. "There was extensive testimony that Ethan Crumbley was certainly a troubled young man, and that the (parents) had knowledge of that situation. But they purchased a gun, which he believed was his and and that he was free to use." The order came after the Crumbleys broke down crying upon hearing excerpts from their son's journal read in court, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Their 15-year-old son blamed them for his mass shooting plans, writing, "I have zero help with my mental problems and it’s causing me to shoot the school. My parents won’t listen to me." He wrote that he planned Michigan's deadliest school shooting ever because "I have fully mentally lost it after fighting my dark side. My parents won’t help me." He also wrote that he hoped his parents could forgive him. Text messages between him and a friend were also shared, including one in which he wrote, "They make me feel like I'm the problem. My mom makes everyone feel like a piece of s---. I actually asked my dad to take me to the doctor the other day, and he just gave me some pills and said to 'suck it up.' My mom laughed when i told her."

An Oxford High School counselor testified that his parents seemed cold and even unfriendly toward him the morning of the shooting, when they were called to the office and told school staff believed Ethan Crumbley was experiencing suicidal ideation and had drawn a picture of a gun in class with the words "The thoughts won't stop. Help me." They did not hug or even touch or greet him, the counselor said, and seemed impatient to leave—without their son. The teen was also in court this week, ClickOn Detroit reports, as prosecutors argued he should remain at Oakland County Jail rather than being moved to a juvenile facility. During that hearing, prosecutors said the teen "enjoyed his dark side," torturing baby birds and expressing admiration for Hitler. (More details from that hearing here.)

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