Parents of Oxford shooter request lower bond again, claim they did not flee from arrest

Motion filed Wednesday argues Crumbley parents aren’t flight risk

Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School, appear in court for a preliminary examination on involuntary manslaughter charges in Rochester Hills, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Defense attorneys for the parents of the Oxford High School shooter have once again requested a lower bond, arguing that the parents have been incorrectly identified as a flight risk as they await trial.

In a motion filed on Dec. 7, lawyers representing James and Jennifer Crumbley -- the parents of the convicted Oxford High School shooter -- requested to have their bond lowered to a more “reasonable” number. Both parents are facing four involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the Nov. 30, 2021, mass shooting, and have been given $500,000 bonds with no 10% options.

They have been lodged at the Oakland County Jail since Dec. 4, 2021, as they wait to stand trial.

Prosecutors have argued that the Crumbleys are flight risks and should be held on high bonds following the messy circumstances in which the parents were arrested.

The pair, who lived in Oxford, was picked up by police at a commercial building in Detroit on Dec. 4, 2021, a day after charges against them were publicly announced. James and Jennifer Crumbley were set to be arraigned on Dec. 3, 2021, but police could not locate them.

A manhunt was initiated to find them, and the Crumbleys were located overnight at the building in Detroit, which defense attorneys say was their friend’s art studio. Prosecutors argue that the couple was attempting to flee.

More on that: Police: Parents of Oxford shooting suspect hid in Detroit warehouse amid manhunt

In the court document filed Wednesday, the defense claims the Crumbleys planned to turn themselves in to authorities, and were staying just staying somewhere other than their home, where they feared they’d be targeted. The attorneys made a similar statement last year, saying the parents had left Oxford following the shooting, but would return for their arraignment.

Defense also provided alleged explanations for why the couple had four phones on them, why they had cash on them, and why they were staying in hotels.

According to the motion, the couple had four cellphones on them because they had their initial phones seized by authorities and were attempting to replace them. The couple first purchased disposable phones, attorneys said, and then bought other phones when they realized their old phone numbers couldn’t be placed on the disposable phones.

The motion argues that the parents had withdrawn cash from their accounts to pay court fees and to live off of, so that they could avoid showing their face at banks. The Crumbleys were also staying at hotels after the shooting as they feared being in their own home, and their family and friends in the area also allegedly feared housing them.

For these reasons, the defense is seeking a lower bond for both of the parents so they may post bail while they await their trial. The trial date was set for January of next year, but has been postponed to an unknown date. Defense attorneys say the Crumbleys are not a flight risk or a risk to public safety, and that it’s not their fault the trial date keeps getting pushed back.

Almost one year ago, Oakland County prosecutors argued the exact opposite, saying the Crumbley parents would “will flee if they get the opportunity.” Prosecutors say they think the $500,000 bonds are appropriate in this case.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are each being charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the Oxford High School shooting. Four people were murdered and seven were injured when their son opened fire at the high school during school hours.

Prosecutors allege the Crumbleys neglected their son and ignored warning signs and red flags for dangerous behaviors. The parents are also accused of purchasing the gun used in the shooting, teaching their son to use it, and failing to store it securely, allowing their son to have easy access.

It is the first time ever in the U.S. that parents of a mass school shooter are being charged in connection with a mass shooting. Their attorneys have since attempted to lower their bond -- and get the case against them thrown out altogether -- but have been unsuccessful thus far.

Their son, Ethan Crumbley, has since pleaded guilty to all 24 felony charges against him, including first-degree murder and terrorism. He is the first person in the U.S. to be convicted of terrorism in connection with a school shooting.

Related: 1 year later: How Tate Myre, Justin Shilling families are coping after the Oxford High School shooting


Find: Complete Oxford High School shooting coverage here


About the Author:

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