Parents of Oxford shooting suspect plead not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges

James Crumbley, Jennifer Crumbley accused of contributing to mass high school shooting

James and Jennifer Crumbley at their video arraignments on Dec. 4, 2021. (WDIV)

The parents of the suspected Oxford High School shooter on Saturday pleaded not guilty to four involuntary manslaughter charges brought against each of them for their alleged role in the mass shooting.

During their arraignment Saturday morning, James Crumbley, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, both pleaded not guilty to each of the four counts of involuntary manslaughter charges brought against them in connection with the Oxford High School shooting on Nov. 30. The couple’s son, Ethan Crumbley, 15, a sophomore at the school, is accused of firing dozens of rounds from a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP2022 pistol that was recently purchased by his father, fatally striking four students and wounding six students a teacher.

The parents are accused of contributing to the shooting and events that led to the shooting. Ethan Crumbley was arraigned on a list of charges, including several counts of murder and terrorism, on Wednesday.

Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old charged in the Oxford High School shooting. (WDIV)

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald publicly announced the charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley on Friday. The couple was originally set to be arraigned Friday afternoon, but did not appear at the court and police could not locate them.

Shortly after police issued a “be on the lookout” alert for the Crumbleys Friday afternoon, the couple’s attorneys -- Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman -- released a statement explaining their clients had left town, but planned to return. The attorneys doubled down on their message during the Saturday arraignment, arguing that they were unaware of the scheduled arraignment time and the accused were “never” fleeing prosecution.

Detroit police located the pair inside a warehouse Friday night, where they were apparently hiding. Police said early Saturday morning that James and Jennifer Crumbley were arrested without incident, and were turned over to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

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

Despite the defense attorneys’ claims, Judge Julie A. Nicholson set the couple’s bond at $500,00 each, no 10%, on Saturday due to the court’s concerns that James and Jennifer Crumbley may be a flight risk and/or danger to public safety. Prosecutor McDonald requested this bond amount. The defense attorneys asked for bond to be set at $50,000 or $100,000, arguing the couple are not flight risks.

If the couple does post bond, they will be required to wear GPS tethers, turn over all of their firearms to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, in addition to several other stipulations such as not testing positive for alcohol or other substances and informing the court of their whereabouts in advance.

If convicted on all four counts of involuntary manslaughter, James and Jennifer Crumbley each face a maximum of 60 years in prison, in addition to a maximum of $30,000 in fines. McDonald said during a news conference Friday that the charges are the strongest possible charges the prosecutor’s office could prove against the parents for their role in the shooting.

Both James and Jennifer Crumbley are scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 14.

You can watch the entire arraignment below.

Click here for more evidence provided by the prosecutor’s office from our sister station WDIV-Local 4.

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.