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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Trial date set for parents of Oxford shooter on involuntary manslaughter charges

James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley appear in 52nd District Court for a probable cause conference in the case of the Oxford High School mass shooting Dec. 14, 2021 in Rochester Hills, Michigan.    (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Kara Berg The Detroit News

A trial date has been for the parents of the teen who killed four classmates at Oxford High School in November 2021 and injured six others and a teacher, according to court records.

James and Jennifer Crumbley will stand trial Jan. 23, 2024 in Oakland County Circuit Court on involuntary manslaughter charges after the Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal of the strength of the case filed against them. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The Crumbleys have been fighting to get the district court bindover of their case dismissed, arguing Oakland County 52-3 District Court Judge Julie Nicholson erred when finding there was probable cause to send the case to stand trial in circuit court.

The seven justices of the Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear arguments on the appeal “because we are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court,” they said in their decisions.

Oakland Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews and a panel of three Michigan Court of Appeals judges have already ruled against the Crumbleys.

The Crumbleys each face four involuntary manslaughter charges connected to the deaths of Oxford High students Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17.

The Crumbleys’ attorneys, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, have said prosecutors cannot demonstrate that a juror could decide that a reasonably foreseeable outcome of the Crumbleys’ alleged gross negligence was their son committing a shooting Nov. 30, 2021. They said their son’s criminal conduct was the sole cause of harm to the victims and the shooting was not reasonably foreseeable.

In arguments and filings in district court, Oakland County prosecutors have laid out evidence that they say shows the Crumbleys were criminally negligent when they bought their son a gun for Christmas; did not listen to his concerns about his declining mental health; and when they did not take him home the day of the shooting after they were called to the school for a meeting concerning drawings and phrases on their son’s math worksheet.

Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted murder and 12 counts of using a gun during a felony.

Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe ruled Friday that the teen is eligible for a sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole. This ruling comes after a four day hearing where prosecutors and Ethan Crumbley’s defense attorneys made arguments on if the teen’s youth makes a life without parole sentence unfair and unconstitutional.

The shooter, now 17, is set to be sentenced Dec. 8 in front of Rowe. He can either be sentenced to life without parole or a term of years in prison.