The parents of Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter, a judge ruled Thursday.
“After hearing extensive testimony, as well as evidence, and reviewing and viewing extensive exhibits, the court finds that the deaths of the four victims could have been avoided if James and Jennifer Crumbley exercised ordinary care and diligence in the care of their son,” District Court Judge Julie A. Nicholson said
Jennifer and James Crumbley are each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after prosecutors accused the parents of giving their son easy access to a gun and disregarding signs that he was a threat before the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School.
Four students were killed and six students and a teacher were injured at Oxford High School.
Jennifer and James Crumbley have pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
They were arrested days after the shooting in a Detroit warehouse following a manhunt after they failed to come to court for their initial arraignment.
Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder – along with an array of other charges, including one count of terrorism causing death. He has pleaded not guilty and his attorneys have said they plan to use an insanity defense at trial.
In the days leading up to the shooting, Ethan Crumbley displayed concerning behavior that had alarmed school officials.
Hours before the student allegedly opened fired, a guidance counselor called his parents in and told them he worried the teen had suicidal ideations, the counselor testified Thursday.
And phone messages reveal the 15-year-old had told a friend that he asked his parents to take him to a doctor after having hallucinations and hearing voices – but said his parents scoffed at the request, a detective testified at the preliminary hearing for his parents.
CNN asked attorneys for the parents for comment Thursday but did not immediately receive a response.
Officers testify on items found in home, journal
Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Matthew Peschke and Det. Adam Stoyek testified about the search of the family’s home.
Peschke said he found a number of items in Ethan Crumbley’s bedroom, including a coin in a plastic covering – with a “Nazi symbol” on it – and gun range targets taped to the walls.
The coin with the symbol could have been a collector’s item, Peschke said. He added that he did not remember seeing any other such coins in the home.
Stoyek testified Thursday that an empty gun case and empty ammunition box was found “seated on the bed” in the master bedroom. Stoyek said there did not appear to be any security lock on the case.
Stoyek also said that police found a gun safe in a dresser drawer in the master bedroom and the drawer did not have a lock on it. Stoyek said James Crumbley gave him the code to the gun safe and police found two unloaded guns inside.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were present when police searched the home, Stoyek said.
Ethan Crumbley’s backpack – with his journal inside – was found in a bathroom at Oxford High School on the day of the shooting, said Lt. Timothy Willis.
Willis said every page in that journal that was written on contained references to a shooting Ethan Crumbley was planning at Oxford High School. There were 21 pages written or drawn on in the journal, Willis said.
According to testimony, the last entry by Ethan in the journal was dated November 29 – the day before the shooting – and said, “The shooting is tomorrow. I have access to the gun and the ammo.”
Other entries in Ethan Crumbley’s journal include:
“The first victim has to be a pretty girl with a future so she can suffer like me.”
“I have fully, mentally lost it after years of fighting with my dark side. My parents won’t listen to me about help or a therapist.”
“I’m sorry for this mom and dad, I’m not trying to hurt you by doing this. I have to do this.”
The journal also included drawings of bullets, a severed head and what appeared to be a “demon,” Willis said.
James Crumbley cried during the testimony about the journal.