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Michigan school shooting suspect’s parents plead not guilty

Exclusive video shows arrest of Crumbley parents
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What we covered

  • After an hours-long manhunt, the Michigan school shooting suspect’s parents were arrested early Saturday in Detroit after failing to show up for a Friday arraignment.
  • They pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges during an arraignment Saturday.
  • The 15-year-old suspect accused of killing four students in an Oxford, Michigan, school was charged – as an adult – with four counts of first-degree murder and terrorism, among other charges.

Our live coverage has ended for the day. Read more here for the latest updates. 

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Our live coverage has ended. Go here for the latest updates. 

Sheriff: "We're inundated by threats right now"

Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff Michael Bouchard (CNN)

Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff Michael Bouchard addressed threats to the community in the wake of the high school shooting that left four students dead:

“We’re inundated with threats right now. We have threats against the candlelight vigil last night, we have threats against memorials, we have threats against individual deputies or law enforcement. It’s absolutely absurd that after a tragedy, we see a huge spike in threats, but that’s what we’re seeing,” Bouchard said.

He warned that anyone making false threats will be apprehended.

“If you make a threat, we’re going to investigate it even if it’s not credible and even if you don’t plan the carry it out. And if we find you — and we will find you — we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law, and one of the possible penalties is up to 20 years. So it’s not funny. It’s not a way to get out of school. It’s a crime. And you’re hurting an already struggling community,” he said.

Oakland County prosecutor to determine charges against individual that assisted Crumbleys, sheriff says

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said that the individual who officials believe assisted James and Jennifer Crumbley in hiding from authorities in an industrial building in Detroit will face “potential charges for either aiding and abetting or obstruction of justice” as determined by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald in the near future. 

“We believe they were assisted in that location to get there, to get in. And we’re gathering that information and we’re going to have the totality of that done fairly soon,” Bouchard said about the couple, the parents of the Oxford High School shooting suspect.

“Given that they were hiding in a warehouse in Detroit, it certainly raises my eyebrows,” he added. 

Sheriff says parents and shooting suspect are "individually in isolation" in the same jail

Oakland County, Michigan, Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley and his parents are in the same jail.

“They are segregated, each individually in isolation. We have advanced watch on them,” Bouchard said.

Bouchard thanked the Detroit Police Department in its assistance in locating the parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, in the city early Saturday morning. They were found in a commercial building after a tip was forwarded to police, officials said.

Bouchard encouraged anyone with information to contact police.

Sheriff holds news conference after parents of school shooting suspect plead not guilty

Oakland County, Michigan, Sheriff Michael Bouchard is briefing reporters after the parents of the Oxford High School shooting suspect pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were arraigned on Saturday, following their early morning arrest after police found them in a Detroit industrial building. The Crumbleys did not show up for an arraignment on Friday.

A judge in Oakland County set their bond at $500,000 each.

Their 15-year-old son is jailed on suspicion of killing four schoolmates and wounding seven other people at the high school on Tuesday.

Detroit police identify person of interest who aided Crumbleys in hiding during manhunt

A law enforcement official tells CNN the Detroit Police Department has identified a person considered to be a person of interest after they were seen in surveillance footage “aiding and abetting” then-fugitives James and Jennifer Crumbley as they hid out in the industrial building where they were found by police early Saturday.

The unknown person was seen guiding the Crumbleys, the parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, as they parked their vehicle in the back of the building where the pair was eventually found, the law enforcement official said.
Surveillance footage also shows the Crumbleys entering the building during daylight hours, the official said.

The law enforcement official tells CNN that it was at this same building where a 911 caller spotted Jennifer Crumbley on the sidewalk outside of the structure “visibly distressed.”

The Crumbleys were later found locked inside an art studio that was located on the third floor of the building, the official said.

They were charged with involuntary manslaughter over the shooting their 15-year-old son Ethan is accused of carrying out at the Michigan high school. They pleaded not guilty to all charges during an arraignment Saturday.

Here's what legal experts say about charges against the school shooting suspect's parents

The parents of the suspect in a shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan that left four students dead this week are facing involuntary manslaughter charges in those deaths.

Legal experts were quick to point out that such charges are far from the norm — it is James and Jennifer Crumbley’s 15-year-old son, Ethan, who is accused of pulling the trigger and killing four of his fellow high school students.

The Crumbleys pleaded not guilty to the charges Saturday during an arraignment.

“It’s exceptionally unusual,” said Cassandra Crifasi, deputy director of Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence and Research. “We rarely hold people accountable for giving someone a gun who shouldn’t have one.”

But it’s the alleged egregiousness of the couple’s behavior that appears to have led to the charges.

“These are extraordinary charges,” said CNN legal analyst Areva Martin. “We know that prosecutors have been reluctant to charge parents in these school shooting cases, even though in some cases, like the Crumbley cases today, parents seem to have some responsibility.”

Their defense attorneys will have to “show that these parents acted responsibly,” Martin said, adding it is “an uphill battle for this defense team.”

There are no safe gun storage laws in Michigan, the prosecutor said. “We are not legally required to store your weapon in a safe manner,” she said.

That could be a stumbling point for the prosecution, Charles Coleman Jr., a former prosecutor, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“Quite frankly, I don’t think that the prosecution is going to have a strong case with them regarding any of the gun possession laws in and of themselves, at least not against the parents,” he said.

But because the involuntary charges don’t require intent, “I think the prosecution stands to make some ground and get some traction,” with those charges, Coleman said.

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James and Jennifer Crumbley,  the parents of accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, have each been charged with four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter.

What legal analysts say about charges against parents in Michigan school shooting

Prosecutor: Crumbleys are "not people that we can be assured will return to court on their own"

During the arraignment for James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the Michigan high school shooting suspect, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald refuted the idea that they were planning on turning themselves in to authorities.

“This is a very serious, horrible, terrible murder and shooting, and it has affected the entire community, and these two individuals could have stopped it,” McDonald said.

“They had every reason to know that he was dangerous, and they gave him a weapon and they didn’t secure it and they allowed him free access to it,” she said.

McDonald addressed the defense attorneys’ claims that their clients had every intent to turn themselves in, but they could not get in touch with the prosecutor’s office. She also brought up that the Crumbleys withdrew $4,000 from an ATM on Friday.

“These are not people that we can be assured will return to court on their own,” she said.

“To suggest that anyone is somehow using this incident to create press, there’s a lot of attention here — because four children were murdered and seven others were injured. And that is on the mind of every single person in this country,” she said.

The Crumbleys pleaded not guilty after being charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter over the shooting their 15-year-old son Ethan is accused of carrying out at Oxford High School. They were arrested early this morning after police found them in a building in Detroit.

Parents' attorneys say they couldn't reach prosecutor and they were "never fleeing prosecution"

During this morning’s arraignment for James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the Michigan school shooting suspect, an attorney told the court she repeatedly tried to get in contact with the Oakland County prosecutor and that her clients weren’t evading law enforcement and were planning to turn themselves in.

“Last night and throughout the day, we were in contact with our clients — they were scared, they were terrified, they were not at home, they were figuring out what to do, getting finances in order,” attorney Shannon Smith said.

The Crumbleys, who were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter over the shooting their 15-year-old son Ethan is accused of carrying out at Oxford High School, were found early this morning in a building in Detroit and arrested after police conducted a manhunt following the couple’s failure to appear for a Friday arraignment.

“Our plan was to drive to the Novi district court this morning, because arraignments were supposed to start at 8:30 [a.m. ET] for any county arraignment, and we had plans to meet them at 7:30, to text the Fugitive Apprehension Team to get to the court by 8:30 so they could be arraigned first thing. Those were plans we made and solidified, and we did not announce it because unlike the prosecution, we weren’t attempting to make this a media spectacle,” Smith said.

“This case is absolutely the saddest, most tragic, worst case imaginable, there is absolutely no doubt. But our clients were absolutely going to turn themselves in – it was just a matter of logistics and all the prosecution had to do was communicate with me about it, and we tried multiple times,” Smith added.

Defense attorney Mariell Lehman said that the couple is “absolutely taking this case seriously.”

“They are devastated by the events in the Oxford incident. This is not something that’s being taken lightly by them or us,” Lehman said during the arraignment.

“Mr. Crumbley, as with Mrs. Crumbley, is not a flight risk, he is not a danger to the community. There’s no risk that they’re going to flee prosecution. They were never fleeing prosecution,” she added.

Bond for parents of Michigan school shooting suspect set at $500,000

Oakland County, Michigan, Judge Julie Nicholson set bond for the parents of Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley at $500,000 each. 

If they manage to post bond, there are several conditions both James and Jennifer Crumbley must follow: They are not to have any firearms in their possession and must turn over any and all weapons, Nicholson said. 

The Crumbleys would also have to wear a GPS tether and would only be allowed to attend work, court appearances, medical appointments and attorney meetings, so long as a schedule and proof of employment is given to pretrial services ahead of time. 

They are not to use alcohol, marijuana, or any recreational drugs and are not to physically assault anyone, Nicholson said.

The Crumbleys were charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter over the shooting their 15-year-old son is accused of carrying out on Tuesday, when four students were killed and seven others wounded at the Michigan high school. They failed to appear for an arraignment on Friday.

They were arrested early Saturday in Detroit after a manhunt by police.

Attorneys for school shooting suspect's parents said they "fully intended to turn them in" today

Attorneys representing the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the suspect in the Oxford High School shooting, “fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment,” they said in a statement Saturday morning ahead of their arraignment.

As CNN has previously reported, the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were arrested early Saturday in Detroit, ending an hours-long search for them after they failed to appear in court on involuntary manslaughter charges in the killings. Law enforcement officials have described the couple as fugitives.

“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. The prosecution has very much cherry-picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that,” said the defendants’ attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman.

The attorneys maintain their clients’ innocence.

Parents of Michigan school shooting suspect plead not guilty to all charges during arraignment 

This image from 52-1 District Court shows a Zoom arraignment for Jennifer and James Crumbley in Oakland County, Michigan, on December 4.

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Michigan high school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, entered “not guilty” pleas to all charges against them during their arraignment Saturday morning.

After being read the charges they face, James and Jennifer Crumbley both responded, “I understand.”

The Crumbleys were charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter over the shooting their 15-year-old son is accused of carrying out on Tuesday, when four students were killed and seven others wounded at the Michigan high school.

Detroit police said the couple “appeared to be hiding” when found in a building early Saturday morning.

Watch moment here:

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Michigan school shooting suspect's parents are being arraigned following arrest

The Michigan school shooting suspect’s parents are appearing in court following their arrest overnight.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were arrested in Detroit on early this morning on manslaughter charges. Law enforcement considered the couple fugitives after they missed their arraignment that was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Michigan school shooting suspect's parents scheduled to be arraigned Saturday morning

The parents of Ethan Crumbley, the suspect in the Oxford High School shooting, are scheduled to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. ET on Saturday morning.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were arrested in Detroit on early this morning on manslaughter charges. Law enforcement considered the couple fugitives after they missed their arraignment that was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The Crumbleys were charged Friday with four counts of involuntary manslaughter over the shooting their 15-year-old son is accused of carrying out on Tuesday, when four students were killed and seven others wounded at the Michigan high school.

A tip led Detroit police to Michigan school shooting suspect's parents, chief says

The chief of the Detroit Police Department said a tip led them to the commercial building where they found the parents of Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley overnight.

White said the Crumbleys – who were declared fugitives after failing to show up for a court hearing on involuntary manslaughter charges – were unarmed and did not resist when officers found them.

“They appeared to be hiding in the building,” the chief said. He added that they were “aided” in getting access to the building, and charges may be filed as a result.

CNN reached out early Saturday morning to the parents’ attorney, Shannon Smith, who had earlier stated that the Crumbleys had left town for their own safety and intended to turn themselves in voluntarily. But the Detroit chief said there was no sign that the Crumbleys wanted to be found.

“This isn’t indicative of turning themselves in,” White said.

Parents of alleged school shooter arrested in Detroit

The parents of alleged school shooter Ethan Crumbley were located and arrested early Saturday morning in Detroit, police said. James and Jennifer Crumbley were found on the first floor of an industrial building on Bellevue Street, near where their vehicle was found overnight, Detroit Police spokesperson Rudy Harper told CNN.

They were booked early Saturday morning into Oakland County Jail, the same jail where their son is incarcerated. 

Jennifer and James Crumbley were scheduled to be arraigned at 4 p.m. ET Friday. They are now expected to be arraigned later Saturday morning.

They face involuntary manslaughter charges in the Tuesday shooting at Oxford High School in Oakland County, Michigan. Their 15-year-old son is charged with murder, terrorism and other charges in the shooting.

James Crumbley bought the semiautomatic handgun recovered in the attack four days before the shooting, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said. She called the parents’ actions “egregious.”

Read more

Parents of alleged Michigan school shooter arrested after manhunt
The shooter 'methodically and deliberately' fired at students. A timeline of a school shooting tragedy
What legal analysts say about charges against parents in Michigan school shooting

Read more

Parents of alleged Michigan school shooter arrested after manhunt
The shooter 'methodically and deliberately' fired at students. A timeline of a school shooting tragedy
What legal analysts say about charges against parents in Michigan school shooting