(UnitedVoice.com) – America is about to witness an extremely rare courtroom trial. On November 30, 2021, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley allegedly committed mass murder at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan. Prosecutors charged him with killing four of his fellow high school students and wounding six others and a teacher. Authorities are holding the young man at the Oakland County jail. His attorney plans to introduce an insanity defense.
In an unusual move by prosecutors, they also charged Crumbley’s parents with four counts of involuntary manslaughter because they allegedly purchased the gun their son used in the mass shooting. Prosecutors say James and Jennifer Crumbley didn’t properly secure the weapon away from their son. On Tuesday, April 20, a county judge refused to lower the bond for the parents, citing their actions after the shooting to deny the request.
Judge Refuses to Lower Bond for Parents
The Crumbleys’ attorneys asked Judge Cheryl Matthews to lower the bond from $500,000 to $100,000 each. Citing the couple’s actions after the mass shooting, Matthews denied the request, agreeing with Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald’s belief the couple poses a severe flight risk despite the chances of a conviction being too difficult to predict.
After the shooting, James and Jennifer Crumbley refused to surrender to law enforcement or answer calls from their attorneys after prosecutors charged them with the crimes. Local law enforcement and the US Marshal Service issued public alerts after a judge issued a warrant for their arrests. Police ultimately found them at a friend’s apartment in Detroit. Officials learned the Crumbleys made significant bank withdrawals and possessed several burner phones and credit cards.
The judge said the defendants posed a flight risk based on their actions and the fact they have family in Florida. Another factor Matthews considered in her decision was the Crumbleys’ allegation they were harassed at their home and felt unsafe, so they went to their friend’s apartment. The judge said reason led her to believe the defendants attempted to flee the jurisdiction. Yet, the Crumbleys’ attorneys dispute that claim and say they were seeking safety and were not trying to run from law enforcement.
What’s Their Crime?
According to DeadlineDetroit.com, one legal expert said the case against the Crumbleys is muddy. Prosecutors allege the parents were responsible for stopping their son from the mass killing and failed to perform. Criminal defense attorney Bill Swor said legal definitions usually reserve a duty to act to those in positions of authority. If that’s part of the charge, defense attorneys will want to know why prosecutors didn’t also charge school administrators with involuntary manslaughter? After the 15-year-old drew violent pictures just hours before the shooting, they sent him back to class.
Regarding locking up the gun, Swor said there are no laws on the books requiring a gun owner to store one away. However, it is illegal to provide a gun to a child as a gift.
This case marks the first time in US history prosecutors have charged parents with a crime for the acts of their child.
Stay tuned. This case could set a new legal precedent.
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