Jailed parents of Michigan school shooter request to attend son's sentencing

The parents of Ethan Crumbley, the 17-year-old who killed four students in a 2021 Michigan shooting, are asking a judge to let them leave jail to attend their son’s sentencing hearing in December.

The parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to their son’s case and lost an appeal last week. They are accused of making a gun accessible to their son and of ignoring his mental health issues. 

The couple have been in custody since soon after the shooting, due to the fact that they couldn’t pay their $500,000 bond. They have been held in the same jail as their son, according to The Associated Press (AP), but have not had contact with him for nearly two years.

Ethan, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 8. He’s eligible for life in prison without parole.

James and Jennifer Crumbley’s trial will take place in January.

“Understandably, this hearing is of paramount importance, and would be to any parent, no matter what their child has done,” the parents’ lawyers, Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman, said in a Thursday court filing, according to The AP.

Prosecutors argued in a Friday court filing that having the parents in the courtroom would be a distraction, the AP reported, citing a local outlet. Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Mark Keast suggested the parents instead be allowed to watch the hearing online in jail, according to The AP. 

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