Parents of Michigan school shooter to be tried for involuntary manslaughter

A judge has ordered the parents of a 15-year-old boy charged with killing four students at his Michigan high school to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges.

Rochester Hills district court judge Julie Nicholson said following Thursday’s preliminary examination for Jennifer and James Crumbley that she found enough evidence to send their case to circuit court.

They are accused of making the gun used in the shooting available to the teen and failing to intervene when he showed signs of mental distress at home and at school.

Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and gun charges in the 30 November shooting at Oxford high school, about 30 miles (50 km) north of Detroit. In addition to the four students slain, six other students and a teacher were wounded.

The gun used in the shooting was given to Ethan Crumbley as an early Christmas present, prosecutors have said.

The Crumbleys’ attorneys have insisted the couple didn’t know their son might plan an attack and didn’t make the gun easy to find in their home.

On the morning of the shooting, Ethan’s parents were summoned to the school and confronted with his drawings, which included a handgun and the words: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” Authorities said the parents refused to take him home after the 13-minute meeting.

A day before the shooting, the school left a voicemail for Jennifer Crumbley informing her that a teacher was concerned that Ethan had been searching for ammunition online using his phone. A sheriff’s office computer crimes investigator testified 8 February at the couple’s preliminary examination that she later asked her son in a text if he “at least” showed school officials a photo of the gun the parents gave Ethan as an early Christmas gift.

The Crumbleys are jailed on $500,000 bond. The case against them is highly unusual because parents are rarely held criminally responsible for teens accused in mass school shootings.

Last month, Ethan Crumbley’s attorneys filed a notice of an insanity defense.

He is lodged alone in a cell in the Oakland county jail’s clinic to keep him from seeing and hearing adult inmates. Defense attorneys want him moved to a juvenile facility, but prosecutors say he would pose a potential risk of harm to the safety of other juveniles.

An Oakland county circuit court judge said during a hearing for Ethan Crumbley on Tuesday that he expected to have a ruling by early next week on whether the teen will remain in the adult jail or be transferred to the county’s Children’s Village.

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