PONTIAC, Mich. (FOX 2) - The trial for 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, has been delayed with no new date set.
The Crumbley parents were due to go on trial next month for involuntary manslaughter charges after the prosecution alleges the Crumbley parents could have done more to stop the alleged shooter of Oxford High School, Ethan Crumbley. The trial was supposed to start on October 24 but, according to the Oakland County Circuit Court records, that date has been adjourned with no new date set.
Instead, the Crumbley parents will be in court for a Daubert Hearing on Oct. 18. In this kind of hearing, the judge will review expert witness testimony and how it will apply to the case. In other words - one side is challenging an expert witness.
James and Jennifer Crumbley have fought to have charges against them thrown out, with their attorneys arguing that they couldn't have known what their son was allegedly planning.
They were last in court in July for motion hearings, their attorneys argued that the parents shouldn't have been charged because are not responsible for what their son Ethan Crumbley allegedly did. They also argue that the Crumbley parents did not know that their son was going to shoot up his school.
The defense for the Crumbley parents said in the filings that "the trial court erred when it upheld the District Court’s decision to bind defendants over for trial, given that the prosecution cannot, as a matter of law, meet their burden in demonstrating Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley were the cause of the victims’ deaths."
In June, a judge ruled that Ethan's journal and text messages could be used during his parents' trials.
Judge Cheryl Matthews said the texts and writing in the journal showed that Ethan talked to his parents about his mental health, and proved that they should have been aware of his mental state.
Violent video games that Ethan played can also be presented as evidence. Matthews noted that while many young people play violent games, allowing Ethan to play them may have aggravated his violent tendencies.
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.
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.
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.