More details emerge about teen in Michigan school shooting

Crime

This image from 52-3 District Court shows James Crumbley blowing a kiss to his wife Jennifer Crumbley during a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Mich., Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. A judge has denied a request to lower a $500,000 bail set for the parents who are charged with their son in a fatal Michigan school shooting. The judge says the Crumbleys failed to turn themselves in when charged with involuntary manslaughter on Dec. 3 and have few ties to the area. The Crumbleys have been in jail since Dec. 4 and unable to meet the bond. They are charged in a shooting that killed four students at Oxford High School on Nov. 30. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT (AP) — Two parents charged with their son in a Michigan school shooting failed to get their $500,000 bond reduced Friday, as prosecutors offered new allegations about the teen’s hallucinations, passion for guns and boasts about violence.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, who are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the Oxford High School shooting, ignored numerous warning signs about Ethan Crumbley and instead bought him a gun that was used to kill four students and injure others on Nov. 30, assistant prosecutor Marc Keast told a judge.

In August, Ethan made a video with a different gun and told a friend in a message that it was “time to shoot up the school — jk, jk, jk,” Keast said, apparently a reference to “just kidding.”

This image from 52-3 District Court shows James and Jennifer Crumbley in a Zoom hearing in Rochester Hills, Mich., Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. A judge has denied a request to lower a $500,000 bail set for the parents who are charged with their son in a fatal Michigan school shooting. The judge says the Crumbleys failed to turn themselves in when charged with involuntary manslaughter on Dec. 3 and have few ties to the area. The Crumbleys have been in jail since Dec. 4 and unable to meet the bond. They are charged in a shooting that killed four students at Oxford High School on Nov. 30. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The 15-year-old was fascinated with Nazi propaganda, even keeping a Nazi coin in plain view in his bedroom and drawing Nazi symbols in a notebook that was also used to make family grocery lists, Keast said.

Earlier in 2021, Ethan told his mother in text messages that he thought “there was a demon or a ghost or someone else inside the home,” the prosecutor said. “These weren’t one-time messages. He would repeatedly text what he was perceiving to his mother, who sometimes would not respond for hours.”

Keast said the parents failed to intervene. He also said Ethan started seeing online ads about mental health after regularly searching for information about school shootings and guns.

Ethan Crumbley

“They did not schedule therapy,” Keast said. “Did not investigate what might be in his room, on his phone or on his (internet) browsers.”

The parents are accused of making a gun accessible to Ethan and breaching their responsibility by refusing to remove him from school two hours before the shooting when counselors confronted them with his distressing drawings of violence.

“Are we done here?” Keast quoted Jennifer Crumbley as telling school officials.

Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with murder and other crimes.

The elder Crumbleys at times shook their heads in disagreement as Keast spoke during a court hearing held over Zoom. Judge Julie Nicholson refused to lower their bond to $100,000, and seemed mostly swayed by arguments that the pair might flee Michigan if released from jail.

The couple had more than $6,000 in cash and numerous phones and credit cards when they were arrested miles away in a Detroit art studio on Dec. 4, hours after charges against them were announced, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said.

Their attorneys insist the Crumbleys didn’t know that a school shooting was in the works and didn’t make the gun easy to find at home.

Defense lawyer Mariell Lehman said Ethan’s journal, which was seized by police, says “he has to find where his dad hid the firearm.”

“This statement in Ethan Crumbley’s own words is contrary to the false and misleading assertions that have been made by the prosecution,” Lehman said in court Friday.

FILE – This undated combo of photos provided by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office shows James Crumbley, left, and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teen accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School, in Michigan. The parents, charged with their son in the fatal shooting, are returning to court Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, to ask for a lower bail.(Oakland County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

Earlier, at a separate court appearance, the teen and his lawyers waived a key evidentiary hearing and moved his case directly to a trial court. Ethan is being held in jail without bond.

Defense attorney Paulette Loftin later told WWJ-AM that a plea deal was a “definite possibility,” though “it’s too early to jump to that phase.”

Oxford High students are expected to return to school next week for the first time since the shooting but at a different building. The high school, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit, could reopen during the week of Jan. 23.

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