Raising Cain! How Ethan Crumbley's parents planned to abandon killer son to 'sell horses'
OAKLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN: After Michigan high school shooter Ethan Crumbley was arrested, his parents had planned to abandon their son, move to Florida and sell horses. This fact came to light after James and Jennifer Crumbley appeared in court on Friday, January 7, where they asked a judge to lower their bond from $500,000 to $100,000.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald argued during the hearing that the bond should remain at $500,000 for each of them because of their lack of ties to the state of Michigan, while also taking into account that the couple had planned to flee the area just hours following their son's arrest. According to McDonald, immediately after the shooting on November 30, 2021, in which their son took the lives of four students, the Crumbleys planned to relocate to Florida, where both of them had families. "On November 30, just hours after their son murdered children in a school, they started making plans," McDonald told the court.
Ethan Crumbley: Oxford School explains how it missed suspect's warning signs
Ethan Crumbley: Suspect recorded videos about killing students night before attack
How the Crumbleys wanted to sell horses in Florida
James, who worked as a Doordash delivery driver, and Jennifer, who had just lost her job, started making plans to sell horses once they were in Florida, and for that purpose, they bought four cellphones. They had also drained their son's bank account of $3,000, leaving only 99 cents. Just a day after news of the shooting broke and Ethan was taken into custody, James and Jennifer also withdrew $2,000 from their own bank account. The couple checked into a hotel where they contacted people interested in the sale of their horses. While checking out, they left one of the vehicles behind, parked in such a manner that the license plate could not easily be seen. The same day, they drove to the art studio in Detroit where they were captured and taken into custody after a manhunt was launched for their arrest.
Based on the argument made by the prosecutors, the Crumbleys' request to have their bond amount lowered was denied by an Oakland County judge who deemed that both parents were a flight risk. The judge rejected the argument by defense attorneys, Mariell Lehman and Shannon Smith, that the Crumbleys had enough ties to the community and that a reduced bond was warranted as they would not flee Michigan.
Both Crumbleys have so far pleaded not guilty to all four charges of involuntary manslaughter — one for each of the dead Oxford High School student killed by their son. Each count carries with it a possible sentence of 15 years in prison along with a $7,500 fine and mandatory DNA testing.
Crumbleys did not 'expect' school shooting
Fifteen-year-old Ethan has been charged as an adult with the murder of Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17, and injuring several others after he opened fire in the school. The gun he used was a Christmas present from his parents. "The last thing they expected was that a school shooting would take place, or that their son would be responsible," defense attorney Smith and Lehman said in a court filing.
The Crumbleys however are accused of ignoring numerous warning signs about their troubled teen son. They effectively armed him when they bought him the gun that was used in the shooting, according to assistant prosecutor Marc Keast. When school counselors confronted them with distressing drawings he made, including that of a gun and blood on the floor, on the day of the shooting, the pair allegedly refused to take him home.