Trial date for James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of accused Oxford shooter, tentatively set

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of the 15-year-old charged with shooting and killing four students at Oxford High School and injuring several others, have a tentative trial date set for October 24, 2022.

The date, which has not been scheduled on the Oakland County Court docket, is being considered as the start of the trial for the parents. 

The Crumbley parents were in court on Tuesday for a pre-trial hearing, specifically to discuss a request to lower the bond for each from $500,000 to $100,000. The request was denied by Judge Cheryl Matthews, citing a lack of connection to the state of Michigan and the actions of the parents in the days after Ethan was charged with the Oxford High School shooting.

After rejecting the motion, the prosecution requested a schedule order for the jury trial. 

"I'm committed to providing the defendants and the prosecution with a speedy trial," Judge Matthews said. "A trial in this matter will not be routine."

What is delaying the trial of James and Jennifer Crumbley?

When Judge Matthews said the trial would not be routine, she further explained that arrangements including jury summons and the selection will be extensive and take some time to conduct. 

She also wanted to know what motions both the defense and prosecution would be submitting.

Defense attorney Shannon Smith said they plan to file roughly ten motions - one or two each week. The defense team did not say specifically which motions they plan to file but said they have motions to quash, eliminate, and motions regarding Ethan's psychological records and more.

"(We have) motions about much more minor things that I hope we can work out with the prosecution," Smith said.

The motions aren't the only issues. Judge Matthews said the court is still backed up due to COVID-19.

More: How Ethan could be used by prosecution and defense

"Because of the pandemic, we have (cases) stacked to the ceiling and I have other people that are still in jail. We have some people - defendants - who have been in jail for over 700 days," Judge Matthews said. "On the other hand, my docket is quite good. I was going to propose to you October 24."

She acknowledged that the date, more than seven months from Tuesday's hearing, may seem like a long time but she's trying to avoid keeping juries in the court over summer holidays and before Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

"I feel like if we don't start a trial in the fall, then it won't happen until January," she said.

Judge Matthews again asked about motions, which the defense repeated their plans and added one about a motion for a change of venue. The prosecution said they plan motions regarding jury instruction and introduction of evidence but their motions are dependent on the defense's motions.

How long will the trial of James and Jennifer Crumbley be?

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald took the extraordinary step of charging the parents of the alleged shooter, Ethan Crumbley, with four counts each of manslaughter. 

She told FOX 2 in March that this question came into her mind right after the shooting: what about the parents of the suspect? 

"The more we learned, the more disturbed we were," she said.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Marc Keast said all the signs were there.

"It’s even got the ATF Youth Handgun notice underneath it which is just sickening when you look back on it," Keast said, referencing the post and picture that Jennifer put online.

Read: Prosecutors say Ethan Crumbley's parents ignored signs of violence for months 

He told FOX 2 they can prove that Crumbley was disturbed and violence was inevitable but his parents did nothing except buy him a gun. Keast sites a social media post that Jennifer put up about Ethan's birthday gift to support this claim.

But that won't be easy. The trial is expected to be complex and jury selection alone could take at least a week, according to Judge Matthews.

"It's hard to predict how long the trial will go and how long it will take to select a jury. I think probably it will take at least a week to select a jury," she said.

The date of October 24 is tentative and is not set in the court's schedule yet so it could still change.

What are James and Jennifer Crumbley charged with? 

Over the course of two days in February, multiple pieces of evidence were presented suggesting that James and Jennifer Crumbley failed to address concerns regarding Ethan Crumbley's mental health. The couple is also accused of buying a gun for the 15-year-old on Friday, Nov. 26 - just four days before the shooting at Oxford High School.

According to authorities, Jennifer Crumbley made an Instagram post that said she was at a gun range shooting a weapon that was her son's Christmas present days before the shooting. 

During the preliminary exam, text messages between Jennifer Crumbley and Ethan Crumbley were presented that showed for months before the shooting, the teen would text his mother about hallucinations he was having while home alone. On multiple occasions, she didn't acknowledge these messages.

Read the text messages here.

Text messages between Ethan Crumbley and a close friend also revealed a look into the teen's relationship with his parents.

In an exchange on April 5, 2021, prosecutors described "quite a bit" of discussion about his mental state in which Ethan Crumbley told his friend he was "f----- up," experiencing hallucinations, and had asked his parents for help.