Why the judge is sending independent lawyers to meet with parents of accused Oxford High School shooter

James and Jennifer Crumbley face involuntary manslaughter charges

The parents of the accused Oxford High School shooter appeared in court on Tuesday for a pretrial hearing.

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – The parents of the accused Oxford High School shooter appeared in court on Tuesday for a pretrial hearing.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were bound over on manslaughter charges in February. Their son is accused of opening fire at Oxford High School last November.

Tuesday’s hearing was the first time the couple appeared in circuit court. The hearing was brief but the issue at hand is incredibly important to the case. It was the first hearing since their long and explosive preliminary hearing where a judge found there was enough evidence to send them to trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Read: Why hasn’t there been an independent review into the Oxford High School shooting?

Prosecutors argue that the parents should be held accountable for allegedly providing their son with the handgun he is accused of using in the shooting. Prosecutors also argued that their son was in crisis, calling out for help and his parents ignored warning signs.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are each represented by a different attorney, but the attorneys are with the same firm. Prosecutors asked the judge to look at the issue and determine if there is a conflict of interest between the two lawyers.

The judge agreed and said she wants to avoid any chance of a mistrial so she is sending two different attorneys to meet separately with the Crumbleys to explain all the conflicts that could come up during the trial.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are expected to meet with independent council within the next two weeks to discuss potential issues.

Prosecutors want James and Jennifer Crumbley to sign waivers after meeting with the independent attorneys. They can still choose to continue the trial with the lawyers they have now -- but prosecutors do not want the lawyers to be a reason for them to appeal any potential convictions.

Read: Complete Oxford High School shooting coverage


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Watch the full pretrial hearing in the video player below

Here is the full pretrial hearing for James and Jennifer Crumbley on March 22, 2022.

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.