Ethan Crumbley’s parents make ‘insulting’ romantic gestures in court
Prosecutors have blasted the parents of accused Michigan high school gunman Ethan Crumbley for their “inappropriate” displays of affection in court, where the duo are being charged over their alleged role in the massacre.
James and Jennifer Crumbley, who are charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly allowing their 15-year-old son Ethan access to the 9mm pistol used in the attack, blew kisses during the court hearing and “I love you” along told the lips, prosecutors said in court filings obtained by the Detroit Free Press.
Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Markeisha Washington formally asked a judge Wednesday to put an end to “inappropriate” and “disrespectful” courtroom antics, which they say were noticed by some of the victims’ relatives.
“These communications … not only denigrate the integrity of the trial as a serious distraction, but are also traumatic to the families of the deceased victims,” Washington wrote. “Your communication is far more distracting and offensive than a ringing cell phone, which the court would not condone.”
Four of Ethan’s classmates died in the Nov. 30 mass shooting at Oxford High School. Six other students and a teacher were also injured. The teenager’s lawyers said last week he intends to plead insanity in the massacre.
Other prosecutors in the case said they were contacted by the victims’ families to express their disgust at the lovebirds.
“Mr. & Mrs. Crumbley’s behavior in court makes a mockery of the crimes of which they are accused,” Assistant Attorney General David Williams said in a statement Wednesday. “The courtroom is not a place for kissing and secret signals. This is a time for families to seek justice.”
Court documents cited by the newspaper show James Crumbley, 45, mouthing what appeared to be “I love you” to his wife, 43, as his mask was partially pulled down during a hearing in December.
When that hearing ended, the pair shared “extra non-verbal communication,” according to Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, as Jennifer Crumbley exited the courtroom.
McDonald wants a judge to bar the Crumbleys from any physical, verbal, or non-verbal contact during the trial. The couple’s attorneys could not be reached, but prosecutors wrote on filing that the defense “expressed a willingness” to get the Crumbleys to comply, the Free Press reported.
McDonald claims the couple, who remain held on a $500,000 bond, committed “egregious acts” by buying a gun on Black Friday and then failing to secure it. James and Jennifer Crumbley have pleaded not guilty, claiming the gun was properly stored and that they were unaware of their son’s intentions to shoot his school.
Ethan Crumbley, who faces 24 charges including terrorism and four counts of murder, pleaded not guilty last month. He remains unattached in the Oakland County Jail, where his parents are also being held.