Arguing that the prosecution is trying "to fit a square peg into a round hole," the parents of an alleged school shooter in Michigan filed a motion with a state appeals court Monday to dismiss the case against them, saying they cannot be held accountable for their teenage son's actions.
According to the Detroit Free Press, James and Jennifer Crumbley's defense attorneys claim the state is trying to make an example out of them and argue that there are no legal grounds to prosecute them on involuntary manslaughter charges.
"Certainly, if the prosecution could directly link Mr. or Mrs. Crumbley to the mass shooting, they would be prosecuted for first-degree murder as if they had directly committed the offense," the motion reads, according to the news outlet. "However, because the prosecution cannot support such a claim, they are left attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole."
"The desire to hold someone accountable for the tragedy that occurred at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021, is certainly understandable, but '[t]he temptation to stretch the law to fit the evil is an ancient one, and it must be resisted,' the defense writes, citing case law ... there can be little doubt that the charges against Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley ... are borne out of a desire to hold persons accountable for criminal acts, where no legal justification exists to do so.
"However, to extend the law in such a way involves important policy decisions of broad social consequences, reaching far beyond this single case. Such a task, then, should be resolved through the legislative process, and not judicial innovation."
Ethan Crumbley, 16, faces first-degree murder and terrorism charges after he shot and killed four people and injured seven others at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, on Nov. 30. According to The Hill, he has pleaded not guilty.
In charging them with involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors contended the parents purchased a handgun for their son and ignored indications that he had violent tendencies. Both have pleaded not guilty.
The first parents in America to be charged in a mass school shooting, the Crumbleys are appealing a June 22 order by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews, who denied their request that she dismiss the charges.
The judge concluded that the prosecution had enough evidence to proceed with the involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents, who are accused of ignoring their son's mental health needs, buying him a gun and failing to disclose that he had access to a gun when they were called to the school over a violent drawing he made the day before the shooting.
The defense maintains that the gun was secured in the home and the Crumbleys had no idea their son was planning to use it.
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