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The parents of an alleged Michigan school shooter are “devastated” by the violent attack and never expected it to happen, according a new plea from their attorneys to lower the couple’s bond.
Jennifer and James Crumbley are facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in the school shooting allegedly committed by their son, Ethan Crumbley. Prosecutors have accused the two of purchasing the gun later used in the shootings as an early Christmas present for their son and of not taking him out of school after meeting with school officials about his disturbing writings before the fatal shooting, according to The Associated Press.
The couple are both behind bars on a $500,000 cash bond, but their attorneys are asking a judge to lower their bond to $100,000, arguing they had been unaware of their son’s plans.
“The Crumbleys, like every parent and community member, are devastated by the school shooting,” the couple’s attorneys Mariell Lehman and Shannon Smith wrote in the filing obtained by the AP. “The last thing they expected was that a school shooting would take place, or that their son would be responsible.”
Ethan Crumbley is facing first-degree murder and terrorism charges after authorities say he opened fire at Oxford High School on Nov. 30. Earlier in the day, one of his teachers discovered a disturbing drawing on his desk of a handgun and the words “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” according to The Associated Press.
The paper also included the drawing of a bullet with the words “blood everywhere” above a person who appears to be shot and bleeding.
After discovering the note, Ethan was taken out of the classroom and had a meeting with school officials and his parents. He claimed that he had been designing a video game when he wrote the note, the outlet reports.
School counselors determined he was not a risk to himself or others. Officials requested his parents take him home for the day, but they allegedly refused and left the school. Ethan was sent back to the classroom and allegedly emerged into a hallway a short time later with a handgun, authorities have said.
The couple’s story garnered international headlines after it was revealed that the day of the fatal shooting — in which four students were killed and 7 other people, including a teacher, were injured — Jennifer Crumbley had texted her son “Don’t do it,” according to The Detroit Free Press.
Her attorneys say the message was sent after the shooting had already happened and was a message to tell her son not to take his own life.
“When Mrs. Crumbley texted Ethan, ‘Don’t do it,’ …the shootings had already happened, Mr. Crumbley had determined the gun was missing and had notified authorities, and Mrs. Crumbley was texting her son to tell him not to kill himself,” they wrote in the filing.
The couple’s attorneys have argued that Jennifer and James “did not know Ethan was a threat to anyone; and they certainly didn’t anticipate or cause the tragedy that unfolded at Oxford High School.”
James Crumbley had purchased the 9mm Sig Sauer for his son just four days before the shooting, according to the AP, and prosecutors have argued that the weapon wasn’t properly secured.
The couple’s attorneys pushed back on that claim, however, arguing in court records that they “did have the gun at issue in a locked and hidden location.”
They believe Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald has gone after the parents to send a message.
“It is clear from the media appearances by Ms. McDonald that this case is one she takes very personally, was filed out of anger and filed in an effort to send a message to gun owners,” defense attorneys wrote in their filing.
McDonald has said before that she would be opposed to a lower bond.
The couple was arrested on Dec. 4 at an art studio in Detroit after they failed to appear in court on the charges. Their attorneys have said the couple wasn’t trying to flee and planned to turn themselves in at a different court the following day.
The judge isn’t anticipated to weigh in on the request to reduce their bond until Jan. 7, the AP reports.
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