A Michigan judge held a preliminary hearing Thursday to decide whether prosecutors had enough evidence to bring involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents of a teenager accused of killing four high school students.
James and Jennifer Crumbley are accused of buying the weapon as a Christmas present for their 15-year-old son Ethan and ignoring warning signs as late as on the day of the Nov. 30 shooting in Oxford, Michigan.
Their son has already been charged with first-degree murder in the deadliest U.S. school shooting of 2021.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
The couple, wearing jail jumpsuits, sat handcuffed to their chairs during the second day of preliminary proceedings in which prosecutors are presenting evidence before Rochester District Court Judge Julie Nicholson. She will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to take the case to trial.
The couple dabbed tears from their eyes as their attorney read excerpts from their son's journal for Timothy Willis, an Oakland County sheriff's lieutenant, who was on the stand.
"I hope my parents can forgive me for what I do," she read as Willis agreed there was no indication in Ethan Crumbley's journal that he had told his parents his plans.
Earlier in the day, prosecutor Marc Keast read for the court a text message that the teenager had sent to a friend.
"I actually asked my dad to take me to the doctor yesterday, but he just gave me some pills and told me to suck it up," he read.
Four students were killed and six other students and a teacher were wounded at Oxford High School, 40 miles north of Detroit.
The case appears to be the first time that parents of a teenage school shooter have been charged for involvement in their offspring's alleged crimes.
It was the latest in a decades-long string of deadly American school shootings.
Four days before the shooting, Ethan accompanied his father to a gun shop, where James Crumbley bought a 9mm handgun, prosecutors said.
The next day his mother posted that the two of them were at a gun range "testing out his new Christmas present," according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors have detailed a number of other warning signs that they said the parents failed to address, including Ethan Crumbley searching for ammunition on his phone.
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