PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The parents of a teenager who killed four students at Michigan’s Oxford High School are seeking permission to attend his sentencing while they also face charges in the attack.
Ethan Crumbley, 17, could be sentenced to life in prison on Dec. 8. James and Jennifer Crumbley, who are charged with involuntary manslaughter, have had no contact with their son for nearly two years, though all three are being held at a suburban Detroit jail.
“Understandably, this hearing is of paramount importance, and would be to any parent, no matter what their child has done,” defense lawyers Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman said in a court filing Thursday.
Prosecutors are opposed to having the Crumbley parents in court, saying their presence would be a distraction, especially for victims who plan to speak at the sentencing, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The Crumbleys instead could be allowed to watch the hearing online in jail, assistant prosecutor Marc Keast said.
The parents have been in custody since shortly after the November 2021 shooting, unable to afford a $500,000 bond. They are accused of contributing to the tragedy by making a gun accessible to their son at home and ignoring his mental health needs.
Their trial begins on Jan. 23.
Four students were killed at Oxford High School and six more students and a staff member were wounded. The shooter pleaded guilty to terrorism and murder. A judge said he is eligible for life in prison without parole, though a shorter sentence is also possible.