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Crumbley's attorneys: Parents were going to turn themselves in Saturday morning

Jennifer and James Crumbley
Posted at 11:25 PM, Dec 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-04 23:27:12-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — James and Jennifer Crumbley are behind bars, each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Both of them pleaded not guilty to each charge. The judge set a total $1 million cash-surety bond with no 10%. Their son stands accused of shooting and killing four students and injuring several others at Oxford High School.

READ MORE: 15-year-old suspect charged with murder, terrorism in Oxford High School shooting

"They were scared and terrified and not at home," said Shannon Smith, who is one of the attorneys representing them.

James and Jennifer appeared in court Saturday morning for the first time. Both told the court they understand the charges of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of four students at Oxford High School.

"I understand," Jennifer said.

Jennifer cried in court as the judge read the names of all four students who were shot and killed. Her son Ethan Crumbley stands accused of killing the students. He is in the same jail but separate from his parents.

"It's clear from the facts that he had total access to this weapon, and it was for him... They gave him a weapon, and they didn't secure it, and they allowed him free access to it," says Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald.

James clearly shook his head in disagreement with the prosecutor's comment during the arraignment.

"That gun was actually locked, and so what the prosecution is stating — this child had free access to this gun — is absolutely not true," Smith said.

It took a statewide search to get the parents in court. FBI and the Marshal Service put their resources into finding them.

But it was a tipster that led them to a vacant building in Detroit.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office says they're looking into the issue of someone letting the parents inside.

"Well, when the tip came in, the person was out smoking and they pretty much ran away, and the way... And I'm not going to get into the specifics where they were and how they were seems to the position they were hiding and weren't looking to surrender," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said.

The Oakland County prosecutor noted that the parents withdrew $4,000 out of an ATM in Rochester.

James and Jennifer's attorney never addressed that amount but said her clients were getting their finances in order.

"Our clients were absolutely going to turn themselves in," Smith said.

Prosecutors disagree with that and say the two are a flight risk.

"These are not people we can be assured will return to court on their own," McDonald said.

Jennifer and James are scheduled to be back in court on the 22nd.

READ MORE: How to support families impacted by the Oxford High School shooting

READ MORE: Oxford Community Schools superintendent details school's version of events

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