Prosecutor: ‘There’s not one person in this community who will vouch for’ the Crumbleys

Bail for parents of accused Oxford High School shooter set at $500K apiece

By: - December 4, 2021 11:00 am

The arraignment for James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley, Dec. 4, 2021 | Screenshot

After a manhunt that resulted in James Crumbley, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, being arrested around 1:30 a.m. Saturday after hiding out in a Detroit building, the parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley were arraigned Saturday morning.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, is accused of murdering four students and injuring seven other people at the high school on Thursday. He was charged as an adult with 24 counts, including four counts of first-degree murder and terrorism causing death. The students killed are: Hana St. Juliana, 14; Tate Myre, 16; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Justin Shilling, 17.

James and Jennifer Crumbley had been charged before noon on Friday on four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Parents of 15-year-old Oxford shooter suspect charged after ignoring son’s disturbing behavior

However, despite claims from their attorneys that they were not fleeing, the couple did not turn themselves in. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said they withdrew $4,000 from a Rochester Hills ATM Friday morning and fled. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard confirmed to CNN Friday afternoon that the Crumbleys were missing. They were apprehended after a massive search Saturday morning.

James and Jennifer Crumbley both pleaded not guilty to the four charges and bail was at $500,000 apiece. Their attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, asked for $50,000 to $100,000 apiece. If they post bond, they must relinquish their weapons upon release from the Oakland County Jail.

“These charges are very, very serious, there’s no question about that. The court does have some concern about the flight risk along with the public safety given the circumstances that occurred yesterday and fact the that defendants did have to be apprehended in order to appear for purposes of arraignment,” said Judge Julie Nicholson of 52-3 District Court.

Smith, best known for defending former Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar in his sexual assault trial, argued she and Lehman were “going to make arrangements for the Crumbleys to turn themselves in. They were scared; they were terrified. They were getting their finances in order.”

James Crumbley (left) and Jennifer Crubley (right) | Screenshot

Smith also accused the media of “cherry-picking” facts in the case.

McDonald called the shootings Ethan Crumbley is accused of “serious” and said of James and Jennifer Crumbley: “These two individuals could have stopped it.”

McDonald said the Crumbleys could have turned themselves in at any time, noting “nobody needs permission” to do so and “the whole country knew these charges were coming.”

“There is not one person in this community who will vouch for” the Crumbleys, she added.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.