The parents of the student accused of killing four and wounding seven others people at Oxford High School appeared in court for their probable cause conference today. James and Jennifer Crumbley are each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Today’s in-person court appearance was the first time the couple have seen each other face-to-face since their arrest more than a week ago. They exchanged brief comments when their defense team approached the bench until a law officer stepped between them.
The probable cause conference is a precursor to the preliminary examination, in which evidence is presented. While that session is usually held within three weeks of arraignment, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald says her office is still collecting evidence.
“The prosecutor’s office has a lot of work to do with a lot of the victims and the families,” says McDonald, “and we do not think it’s in their best interest or in the interest of justice to do that during the holiday season.”
James and Jennifer’s preliminary examination had been scheduled to start in the coming days, but the conference ended with the prosecutor and defense agreeing to push back the date. It’s now set to begin on February 8.
McDonald says the exam might last for more than three days and her office could present up to 20 witnesses, another factor contributing to the delay.
“There are several witnesses to prepare and we want to make sure we are prepared to go forward on the date and time set for the preliminary examination,” said McDonald.
Ethan Crumbley, the alleged shooter, was also in court this week for his probable cause hearing, during which his attorneys requested that he be moved to a juvenile detention center.
District Court Judge Nancy Carniak denied the motion, saying the teen belongs in jail since he’s being charged as an adult.
Ethan Crumbley is charged with murder, attempted murder and terrorism. Due to the overwhelming amount of evidence left to be gathered and shared with defense counsel, Crumbley’s next hearing will not be until next month.