The parents charged in connection with this week’s deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan each pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter Saturday in their first hearing since being taken into custody in the middle of the night while hiding in Detroit.
The couple was captured early Saturday following an hourslong search after they did not turn themselves in for their scheduled arraignment Friday afternoon, according to law enforcement officials.
The attorney for James and Jennifer Crumbley, who could be seen fighting back tears during the arraignment, had said Friday they were returning to town for their court date after detectives announced they were trying to locate the couple. But the duo remained missing late Friday and the U.S. Marshals Service joined in on the search.
The couple was caught by the Detroit Police Department when a business owner called 911 after spotting the suspects’ car in their parking lot and Jennifer Crumbley standing next to it, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. She fled the area on foot, but the couple was located in a commercial building in an art studio after an extensive search of the area. They were taken into custody “without incident, Detroit Police Chief James White said at a 3 a.m. press conference, and were unarmed.
White said the duo was aided in getting into the building and some charges might be filed against the person who let them inside. He also said it was very likely they were trying to flee to Canada.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said during a briefing Saturday that his office will be presenting potential charges to the local prosecutor, either aiding and abetting or obstruction of justice, against the person who allegedly helped them gain access to the building.
I think where they were and how they were seems to support the position they were hiding and they weren’t looking for surrendering at that point, he told reporters.
At Saturday’s arraignment, the judge ordered they each be held on $500,000 with no 10% bond and will submit to drug testing and be fitted with a GPS monitor if they are able to meet bond. They were also asked to surrender any weapons to the sheriff’s office.
The two are currently being held in jail in isolation, as is their son, Bouchard said. All three are on advanced watch, he said.
There was no indication that any of them were suicidal, but out of an abundance of caution, our amazing corrections team is doing suicide watches on all three of them, he said.
Shannon Smith, who is representing Jennifer Crumbley, repeatedly said her clients were not fleeing prosecution and planned to turn themselves in Saturday morning, a categorization that Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald disputed.
While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges in this case are intended to make an example and send a message, Smith and James Crumbley’s lawyer, Mariell Lehman, said in a statement Saturday. The prosecution has very much cherry-picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that.
McDonald recommended the $500,000 bond, saying, These are not people that we can be assured will return to court on their own.
The parents were each charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Their son, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, allegedly used his father’s semi-automatic handgun in the Tuesday shooting that killed four and injured seven.