A request by the parents of the Oxford High School shooting suspect for a lower bond was denied by an Oakland County, Michigan, judge Tuesday.
James and Jennifer Crumbley each sought to lower their bond from $500,000 to $100,000 in a filing April 12. Lawyers for the couple argued that the Crumbleys have been unfairly portrayed as bad parents by the prosecution and that the reality of their parenting has not yet been disclosed.
The defense has continued to insist that the parents did not know their son Ethan, 15, would carry out the shooting at the Michigan high school that left four students dead and more injured, including a teacher. A court filing says “the real facts of this case” have been lost in an emotionally charged media narrative surrounding the parents.
“The Crumbleys were absolutely shocked parents who had no reason to foresee what would happen,” defense attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman wrote earlier.
Prosecutors say Ethan Crumbley used a gun that his parents had purchased for him as an early Christmas present four days prior to the Nov. 30 shooting.
The Crumbley parents are each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting. Ethan Crumbley will be tried as an adult on charges including first-degree murder and terrorism.
Smith, Jennifer Crumbley’s lawyer, said they will appeal the bond decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The defense also expects to file 10 motions ahead of the trial, which is scheduled to begin in the fall. Smith said one of the motions could be a change of venue.
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While explaining her decision to not lower bond during Tuesday’s court session, Judge Cheryl Matthews cited the search that ensued days after the shooting. Bond is put in place to ensure the defendants’ appearance at all court trials and hearings.
“Defendants indicate they were devastated when they heard about the alleged actions of their son, felt unsafe in their home, felt hounded by the press and found it necessary to leave,” Matthews said. “However, the chronology of events that occurred subsequent to the defendants leaving their home is not consistent with cooperation with law enforcement.”
Also during the pretrial hearing, the couple agreed to joint representation. The two were represented by their own lawyers who worked for the same law firm, a decision that raised concerns of potential conflicts of interest.
The parents are being charged as individuals, and Matthews warned them of the risks involved with joint representation including limiting the presentation of evidence or witness examination to protect the other client.
The defense also tentatively agreed to a trial start date of Oct. 24. Matthews said, “this trial will take a Herculean effort by court administration,” and is aiming for a fall start date.
Contributing: Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press; The Associated Press