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MI Court of Appeals: Crumbleys will face manslaughter charges

Jennifer and James Crumbley, wearing masks,  along with their attorney sit in a courtroom, a law enforcement officer isbehind them
Paul Sancya
Jennifer Crumbley, left, and James Crumbley, right, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, a teenager accused of killing four students in a shooting at Oxford High School, appear in court for a preliminary examination on involuntary manslaughter charges in Rochester Hills, Mich. on Feb. 8, 2022.

The Michigan Court of Appeals says the parents of the Oxford High School shooter will face trial on four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The case was on remand from the Michigan Supreme Court as James and Jennifer Crumbley try to fend off manslaughter charges for allegedly providing their son with the gun used in the shootings and failing to remove Ethan Crumbley from school after he had made threatening statements.

The majority decision says the shootings would not have occurred but for the fact that the parents bought the gun for their 15-year-old son, allegedly failed to ensure it was safely secured and failed to remove him from school despite threats he had made.

“Given all those facts, it was not an abuse of discretion to conclude that there was probable cause to believe that a juror could conclude that a reasonably foreseeable outcome of defendants’ alleged gross negligence was EC committing a shooting that day,” wrote Appeals Court Judge Christopher Murray.

“One of the few reasonably foreseeable outcomes of failing to secure the firearm that was gifted to EC was that it would be accessible to EC and that, in his mentally deteriorated condition, he might use it in unlawful ways.”

The Crumbleys say they had no way of knowing their son would carry out a mass shooting. The couple can attempt another appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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