The mother and father of the Michigan teen accused of gunning down four classmates appeared to be on the verge of crying Saturday morning during their arraignment on involuntary manslaughter charges.
Video of the proceeding shows Jennifer and James Crumbley plead not guilty to the charges. They participated in the hearing remotely from the Oakland County Jail.
Jennifer Crumbley, 43, appeared to break down and was on the verge of crying when Oakland County District Court Judge Julie Nicholson asked if she understood each of the charges against her, according to the video.
“I understand,” said Jennifer Crumbley, the pitch of her voice wavering, as she looked down with a hand on her face.
James Cromley, 45, appeared to become increasingly emotional during the proceeding. His facial expressions suggested that he also was near tears while the prosecutor, Karen D. McDonald, asked the court to impose a $500,000 cash bond.
The couple’s 15-year-old son, Ethan, is facing four counts of first-degree murder, terrorism and seven counts of assault with intent to murder in connection with a school shooting at Oxford High School on Tuesday. He is scheduled to return to court December 13.
Prosecutors say that the parents had recently purchased the gun their son allegedly used in the shooting and that they did not take steps to address concerning behavior hours before the slayings, CNN reports.
The couple was arrested early Saturday morning in the basement of a commercial building in Detroit near where their vehicle was located, hours after authorities had announced charges against the pair, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The couple’s attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, claim their clients had made plans to turn themselves in.
“They were never fleeing prosecution,” Lehman told the judge, according to the video.
The judge accepted the prosecution’s request and set bond at $500,000 for each of the parents. If they post bond, the pair will be required to wear GPS monitors.
“These charges are very, very serious, there’s no question about that,” Nicholson said, according to the recording. “The court does have some concern about the flight risk along with the public safety given the circumstances that occurred yesterday and the fact that the defendants did have to be apprehended in order to appear for purposes of arraignment.”
Jennifer and James Crumbley are scheduled to return to court on December 13. They face up to 15 years in prison on each of the counts.
The couple’s attorneys issued a statement on Saturday morning before the hearing, according to the Free Press. That statement read:
“We understand that our clients were apprehended last night although we fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment, contrary to the misinformation that has been rampant in the media,” it said. “Unfortunately, this case presents the most unimaginable tragedy for every single person involved, including every member of the community. 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. We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion. We know that in the end the entire story and truth will prevail.”
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