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'Our focus remains on the defendants in custody': Prosecutor swats down questions about prosecuting Oxford school officials

Parents of accused Oxford school shooter Ethan Crumbley remain in jail following a court appearance Tuesday morning
Posted at 5:24 PM, Dec 14, 2021

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. — Karen McDonald said on Tuesday that her office remains focused on the alleged Oxford High School shooter and his parents, swatting down the idea of issuing criminal charges against school officials in the deadly Nov. 30 attack.

On Nov. 30, officials say 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley opened fire in the south end of Oxford High School shortly before 1 p.m., killing four people and injuring seven. Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17, lost their lives in the shooting.

Crumbley was arrested following the shooting, and charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

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

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were later each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Both James and Jennifer appeared in court Tuesday morning for a probable cause conference, a hearing in which procedural aspects of the case are discussed, such as potential plea agreements and bail.

"As you are no doubt aware, on Nov. 30, 2021 at Oxford High School, four children were murdered; six children and one teacher were shot. Hundreds of others were terrorized," Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said during Tuesday's hearing.

"Approximately 300 officers responded to the area, including representatives from at least 26 agencies; at least 11 Fire Departments responded."

McDonald also spoke about the massive volume of evidence in this case, and the unique challenges it poses.

“This case is unprecedented in Oakland County, and perhaps the state,” she explained.

“It includes a tremendous number of police reports, digital evidence, photographs, search warrant returns, ATF reports, FBI reports, witness statements and recorded interviews.”

Because of the unusual load, both sides agreed to push back the next scheduled court date so they have enough time to go through everything.

The case will proceed on Feb. 8, 2022. Prior to that, on Jan. 7, the defense plans to file a motion regarding bond for James and Jennifer Crumbley.

Adjusting the bond amount for the couple was not discussed Tuesday. They both remain behind bars at the Oakland County Jail.

Ethan Crumbley appeared in court on Monday himself, where his defense attorney requested he be moved from a cell at the Oakland County Jail to a juvenile facility.

READ MORE: Court hearing for Ethan Crumbley moved to 2022

Judge Nancy Carniak decided that Ethan would remain in the adult jail.

"I still feel strongly about that, that his conduct could be a menace to other juveniles. I think his placement is appropriate in the adult facility," Judge Carniak said Monday.

Investigators say that James Crumbley purchased the gun that was used in the deadly school shooting for Ethan as an early Christmas present.

Prosecutor McDonald has said the parents committed “egregious” acts, such as buying the gun for their son and failing to intervene when they were summoned to the school and confronted with a drawing he allegedly made that a teacher had found disturbing.

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