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Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect plead not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges after arrest

Crumbley parents
Posted at 11:23 AM, Dec 04, 2021

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the accused Oxford High School shooter who were charged with involuntary manslaughter, were captured early Saturday morning in Michigan following a police manhunt that ended in an art studio, Detroit police told CBS News. Later on Saturday, they pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Judge Julie Nicholson assigned bond of $500,000 to each parent at a hearing on Saturday and placed other requirements such as GPS monitoring. The judge agreed with prosecutors that the couple posed a flight risk.

Authorities had been searching for James and Jennifer after they were each charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the school shooting, the U.S. Marshals office said. The county prosecutor, Karen McDonald, said they failed to prevent the tragedy and allowed their son to have access to the gun he used in the shooting.

An attorney for the couple said on Friday the couple left town the day of the shooting and were returning to be arraigned, but the couple missed their Friday afternoon arraignment.

They had not turned themselves into authorities as of Friday night.

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe told CBS News that he was contacted by the attorney at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday with assurances that the Crumbleys "were going to turn themselves in" and that the attorney would "text my detective sergeant tomorrow morning at 7 a.m."

Just before 11 p.m., the U.S. Marshals Service released wanted posters for the couple, offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to their capture.

Detroit police then received a 911 call from a business owner who spotted the suspects' vehicle in his parking lot, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office told CBS News. The caller observed a female near the car, who fled on foot.

After an extensive search by police, including with Detroit K-9 units, both fugitives were located and arrested overnight, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

At a press conference early Saturday morning, Detroit police chief James White gave more details about the couple's arrest. He said they had been let into a commercial building and appeared to be hiding there. The person who let them in is under investigation and may be charged. At the time of their arrest, the Crumbleys were in distress, but they were not armed and were taken into custody without incident.

Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley said in a statement early Saturday that their clients were apprehended even though they "fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment, contrary to the misinformation that has been rampant in the media."

Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman said they intend to fight the case in the courtroom "and not in the court of public opinion."

"We know that in the end the entire story and truth will prevail," they said.

"While it's human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges in this case are intended to make an example and send a message," they said. "The prosecution has very much cherry- picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that."

The shooting suspect, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, faces 24 charges in Tuesday's shooting, including four counts of first-degree murder and one count of terrorism causing death. Four people were killed and seven others were wounded in the shooting at Oxford High School.

The teen made his first court appearance on Wednesday and entered a plea of not guilty.