The mother of Michigan high school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley wept as she and her husband pleaded not guilty at their arraignment, hours after they were arrested following a huge overnight manhunt.
Jennifer and James Crumbley were arraigned on Saturday morning with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter in connection to Tuesday’s mass shooting, where their 15-year-old son allegedly shot dead four students and wounded seven other people at Oxford High School.
They both pleaded not guilty to all the charges via videolink from Oakland County Jail – the same jail where their son has been held since his arrest on multiple murder charges.
Ms Crumbley sobbed and covered her face with her hand as she said she understood the charges and entered her plea.
Their arraignment came hours after the parents were found hiding out in a warehouse and are thought to have been trying to flee to Canada to escape charges, according to authorities.
The Crumbleys were arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning at a commercial building in Detroit, following an hourslong manhunt after they skipped their arraignment on Friday afternoon.
Detroit Police Chief James White announced in an early morning press briefing that the “distressed” couple had been taken into custody unarmed and “without incident” after authorities received a tip-off as to their whereabouts.
The Crumbleys appeared to go on the run on Friday allegedly withdrawing $4,000 of cash from an ATM and switching off their mobile phones so that they couldn’t be located.
This came after Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announced her decision to charge the Crumbleys each with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutor McDonald said in a Friday press conference that the parents’ failure to prevent Tuesday’s massacre was “criminal” and that it was “my intention to hold them accountable”.
Bond was set at $500,000 each for the Crumbleys after prosecutors argued their failure to appear for Friday’s arraignment proved they are a flight risk.
If they post bond, they are ordered to turn over all weapons to Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
Attorneys for the Crumbleys claimed they were “absolutely going to turn themselves in”, saying it was “just a matter of logistics.
Mariell Lehman told the court her clients were “absolutely taking this case seriously” and are “devastated” by the massacre that unfolded this week.
“There’s no risk that they’re going to flee prosecution. They were never fleeing prosecution,” she said.
Instead, the attorneys accused the prosecutor’s office of “making a media spectacle” of the case, claiming they had contacted the prosecutor on Thursday night about arranging the couple’s surrender but their messages had gone unanswered.
They also disputed the allegation that the firearm used in the shooting was freely available to Ethan, saying the “gun was locked” away from the teenager and that it is “absolutely not true” that he had access to it.