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Prosecutor: Accused Oxford High School shooter texted mother about 'demons and ghosts' months before shooting

James and Jennifer Crumbley were denied a bond reduction Friday afternoon during a scheduled Zoom court hearing.

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. — The teen accused in the deadly Oxford High School shooting is heading to trial. Meanwhile, his parents, who are charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the deadly shooting, are staying behind bars. 

James and Jennifer Crumbley were denied a bond reduction Friday afternoon during a scheduled Zoom court hearing. The judge denied a motion to reduce the Crumbleys' bond from $500,000 to $100,000.

Oakland County Hon. Judge Julie Nicholson found there was reason to believe the Crumbleys were a flight risk, which their defense attorneys denied heavily.

The judge took several factors into consideration. 

"As the prosecutor indicated, they still have family in the state of Florida.  After the charges were issued, the defendants did not voluntarily turn themselves in. Instead, they were found in an abandoned vehicle in the city of Detroit," said Nicholson said. 

According to Prosecuting Attorney Karen McDonald, on Nov. 30, the Crumbley parents started to make plans to evade criminal charges, including wanting to sell their home and horses, purchasing multiple cell phones including burner phones and draining their son's bank account. 

Prosecutors said their case is strong for conviction because evidence will show Ethan Crumbley, 15, was deeply troubled and his parents failed to get him help.

"As far back as March 2021, Ethan Crumbley would text his mother on more than occasion. He thought there was a demon or ghost or someone else inside the home. These weren't one-time messages what he was perceiving to his mother who sometimes would not respond for hours," said Marc Keast, the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Oakland Prosecutor's Office.  

Prosecutors say the teen also mutilated animals, however, the Crumbleys' defense attorneys fought back against the claim the parents knew anything about that. 

"His parents were completely unaware that Ethan had engaged in any sort of torturous behavior. They had no knowledge of an incident involving a bird head."

James and Jennifer Crumbley were seen shaking their heads during the Zoom hearing.

Earlier in the day, Ethan was bound over for trial. Bond is expected to be addressed in two weeks and a trial date will be set by the circuit court.

The Crumbley parents will be back in court for a preliminary examination on Feb. 8th. 

Oxford High students will begin a gradual return to classes next week at a different building before returning for classes at the high school the week of Jan. 24.

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