Parents of Oxford shooting suspect appear in court for first time since arraignments

Crumbleys appear in person, in shackles, for court hearing; parents charged with 4 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with mass shooting at Oxford High School

The parents of the teen accused of opening fire at Oxford High School and killing four students and injuring several others appeared in court Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 for a probable cause conference. For more coverage: https://www.clickondetroit.com/topic/Oxford_High_School_Shooting/

The parents of the teen accused of opening fire at Oxford High School and killing four students and injuring several others appeared in court Tuesday for a probable cause conference.

James Crumbley, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, are each facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Nov. 30 mass shooting. Officials accuse the couple of contributing to the tragedy by giving their son Ethan Crumbley, 15, a semi-automatic handgun and ignoring his cries for help, which were reportedly indicated by a violent drawing he sketched in class shortly before the shooting inside Oxford High School.


Dec. 13: Judge denies request to move suspected Oxford High School shooter to juvenile facility


Prelim adjourned until February

On Tuesday, Judge Julie Nicholson agreed to adjourn the next hearing in their case to Feb. 8, 2022, per the request of Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald who said more evidence must be reviewed and more witnesses must be interviewed. The preliminary exam originally was scheduled for Dec. 22.

“We anticipate being ready to present the preliminary exam in February, your honor, and as the court knows these children, and families, these funerals have just recently concluded. The Prosecutor’s Office has a lot of work to do with a lot of the victims and the families and we do not think it’s in their best interest, or in the interest of justice, to do that during the holiday season,” said McDonald.

McDonald said her office anticipates there will be 15 to 20 witnesses for the preliminary exam hearing. She expects it will take three to five days in court. The Crumbleys’ defense attorneys agreed to the adjournment. They also said they were planning to file a motion regarding bond on Jan. 7. The Crumbleys are being held on $500,000 bonds.

The Crumbleys appeared in person at the 52nd District Court - Division 3 for their probable cause hearing Tuesday. The pair are being represented by two different attorneys who work for the same firm -- Shannon Smith and Marielle Lehman -- but are being represented jointly in court.

James Crumbley could be seen mouthing what appeared to be the words “I love you” to his wife while in court. Both entered the courtroom in handcuffs and shackles and were seated with their attorneys sitting between them. The two are being held in separate, isolated cells at the Oakland County Jail.

James Crumbley in court Dec. 14, 2021 for his probable cause hearing for charges in connection with the mass shooting Nov. 30, 2021 at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. (WDIV)
James Crumbley in court Dec. 14, 2021 for a court hearing for charges in connection with the mass shooting Nov. 30, 2021 at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. (WDIV)
Jennifer and James Crumbley in court Dec. 14, 2021 for their probable cause hearing for charges in connection with the mass shooting Nov. 30, 2021 at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. (WDIV)
Jennifer Crumbley in court Dec. 14, 2021 for a court hearing for charges in connection with the mass shooting Nov. 30, 2021 at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. (WDIV)
Jennifer Crumbley appears in court Dec. 14, 2021 for a probable cause hearing for charges connected with the mass shooting Nov. 30, 2021 at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich. (WDIV)

4 counts of involuntary manslaughter

Both James and Jennifer Crumbley have pleaded not guilty to the following charges against them:

  • Count 1: Involuntary manslaughter, maximum $7,500 fine and 15 years in prison for the death of 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin
  • Count 2: Involuntary manslaughter, maximum $7,500 fine and 15 years in prison for the death of 16-year-old Tate Myre
  • Count 3: Involuntary manslaughter, maximum $7,500 fine and 15 years in prison for the death of 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana
  • Count 4: Involuntary manslaughter, maximum $7,500 fine and 15 years in prison for the death of 17-year-old Justin Shilling

Ethan, James and Jennifer Crumbley are all jailed at the Oakland County Jail, but are separate and not allowed to have contact with one another, officials said. Ethan Crumbley was denied bond, and James and Jennifer Crumbley have yet to post their individual $500,000 bonds.

James Crumbley (left), Ethan Crumbley (center) and Jennifer Crumbley (right) are all being lodged at the Oakland County Jail over charges in connection with the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School. Mug shots provided by law enforcement. (WDIV)

Parents accused of running, hiding after charges announced

The couple is believed to have fled and hid from police after charges were announced against them, failing to appear for their initial arraignment hearing on Dec. 3. They were arrested in Detroit and arraigned on Dec. 4.

It is possible that additional charges could come against James and Jennifer Crumbley as their case is processed.

Related: Could parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect face federal charges for purchase of gun used in shooting?

Their son, Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old sophomore student at Oxford High School, is facing 24 charges in connection with the mass shooting, from terrorism to first-degree murder. He appeared for a probable cause hearing on Monday in the same court, but not in person. Ethan appeared via video conference.

Suspected Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley's probable cause conference

The gunfire at Oxford High School killed students Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17. Only one of the seven people injured in the shooting remained in the hospital as of Dec. 9: a 17-year-old girl at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Police said last week that the girl was removed from the intensive-care unit and into a standard room, where she will remain for 4-6 weeks for rehabilitation.

In addition to criminal charges issued in connection with the shooting, civil litigation is starting to crop up against the school district and its administrators and staff regarding their alleged role in the tragedy.

More: Attorney: Oxford school staff, administrators betrayed trust by failing to prevent shooting, protect children


More: Oxford High School shooting coverage


About the Authors:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.