Crumbley parents in court on manslaughter charges linked to Oxford HS shooting; will return to court in 2022

The parents of the alleged Oxford High School shooter made their first court appearance since entering not-guilty pleas during their arraignment when they were brought up on involuntary manslaughter charges.

James and Jennifer Crumbley appeared before a judge for a probable cause conference in Rochester Hills District Court. Their son, Ethan Crumbley, had his probable cause conference Monday adjourned until Jan. 7 after his defense team requested more time to review evidence in the case. 

The Crumbley parents were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter days after their son was arrested for allegedly shooting several people at Oxford High School on Nov. 30. Four students died in the shooting and 7 others were seriously hurt and are still recovering.

crumbleys in court

James and Jennifer Crumbley appeared in court on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 on involuntary manslaughter charges.

Both Crumbleys appeared as in court in person and sat at the same table with their attorneys. Ethan appeared on Monday via zoom.

The two Crumbleys are co-defendants in the case and the judge clarified that there is no conflict in the two attorneys representing both of them.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald spoke first and stated that approximately 500 pages of discovery were delivered to the defense with another 40 GB of data from the sheriff that has not yet been reviewed by the prosecutor's office.

McDonald said they don't have all the discovery at this time and asked for an extension of the probable cause conference until after the new year with a preliminary exam taking place in February.

RELATED: Ethan Crumbley back in court Monday, will remain in adult jail judge orders

"We anticipate being ready to present the preliminary exam in February, your honor," McDonald said. 

The prosecutor said they anticipate 15 to 20 witnesses to speak at the preliminary exam and asked for an extension of time as they are still grieving the loss of life.

The Crumbleys' attorneys joined in the request to extend the hearing until January.

After both the prosecution and defense requested the adjournment, both met with the judge at the bench.

At that time, James Crumbley mouthed a message to Jennifer Crumbley across the defense table.

After a discussion at the bench, the judge set the preliminary hearing for Feb. 8 at 1:15 p.m. A new probable cause date was not set.

The judge then asked the defense if they were going to request a lowered bond. Both are being held on a $500,000 bond after both failed to turn themselves in on Friday, Dec. 3 on the manslaughter charges. After failing to appear in court, a Be On the Lookout was issued and a manhunt across southeast Michigan ensued. 


James Crumbley speaks with his attorney during a hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 14, on charges of involuntary manslaughter connected to the Oxford High School shooting.

The two were found hiding in an art studio in Detroit around 2 a.m. the next day. FOX 2's Charlie Langton said if the Crumbleys' attorneys ask for reduced bond, their actions will likely be held up by the prosecution as a reason to deny a decrease in bond.

Saying that they "need to get a little bit more discovery," the Crumbleys' attorneys said they planned to file a motion regarding bond within a week but did not ask for it to be lowered in court on Tuesday.


Jennifer Crumbley enters the courtroom for a hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 14, on charges of involuntary manslaughter connected to the Oxford High School shooting.

The Oakland County prosecutor took the rare move to charge the parents after accusing them of "egregious" conduct for not doing more to prevent their son from endangering others. James and Jennifer Crumbley were both accused of failing to intervene on the day of the tragedy, despite being in a meeting with the school and Ethan. During the meeting, they were confronted with a drawing and a chilling message reading "blood everywhere" that was found on Ethan's desk. 

They were told to seek mental health help for their son but fatly refused and then declined to take him home. Just a few hours later, Ethan Crumbley allegedly walked out of a bathroom with a Sig Sauer and shot and killed four students.

RELATED: Why was Ethan Crumbley charged with terrorism?

McDonald suspects the firearm used in the shooting was in Ethan's backpack at the time of their meeting.

Ethan Crumbley's probable cause hearing was adjourned on Monday as the defense had not yet received all the evidence in the case. A similar action was taken on Tuesday. 

According to Langton, roughly the same amount of evidence still needs to be presented to the Crumbleys' attorneys. 

There are other key differences in this case versus Ethan's. According to Langton, there will likely be no issue of mental competency. Langton said the defense will have to decide whether to have them tried as one or will they separate.

That decision is not expected on Tuesday but instead could come after the preliminary exam, which is currently set for Wednesday, Dec. 22. If Tuesday's hearing is delayed, the preliminary exam would also be delayed. 

Langton said there is strategy in either decision and, while the cases are similar, there may be differences in the two trials.