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Prosecutors: Parents of Oxford shooting suspect ignored red flags

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Prosecutors: Parents of Oxford shooting suspect ignored red flags
Prosecutors said Jennifer Lynn Crumbley was having an extramarital affair in the time before her son carried out the shooting that killed four people. Photo via Oakland County Sheriff's Office/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Prosecutors on Thursday said the parents of the Oxford school shooting suspect ignored "disturbing" texts and other red flags about his mental state leading up to the shooting.

A Thursday court filing alleged that James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley knew their son, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, was depressed before they purchased him the firearm used in the Nov. 30 school shooting that left four students dead and seven others injured.

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"The defendants had information long before Nov. 30 that their son's only friend moved at the end of October, that the family dog died, that their son was sadder than usual, and that he was sending his mother disturbing texts about his state of mind," prosecutors wrote. "Instead of paying attention to their son and getting him help, they bought him a gun."

Prosecutors also said that Ethan Crumbley had been torturing animals and "even kept a baby bird's head in a jar on his bedroom floor, which he later took and placed in a school bathroom."

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Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder and gun-related charges.

James and Jennifer Crumbley were both arrested after a manhunt and charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for their role in purchasing the gun used in the shooting

"They knew that their son was depressed, that he was fascinated with guns ... that he had been researching ammunition while at school and that he was seen watching violent videos of shootings that morning," prosecutors wrote. "Before they left school that day, they had also seen the disturbing drawings."

RELATED Mich. school shooting: Charging parents for child's alleged crimes not unprecedented

Included in the filings were drawings on a math homework sheet allegedly done the day of the shooting depicting a gun, a bullet and a bleeding shooting victim.

The phrases "My life is useless," "Blood everywhere" and "The thoughts won't stop, help me," were also written but allegedly crossed out. In the altered version a crying-laughing emoji is added along with the phrases "video game this is," "we're all friends here," "harmless act," "I love my life so much!!!!" and "OHS rocks!"

During this period Prosecutor Karen McDonald alleged that the Crumbleys spent their time at a barn caring for their horses three to four nights a week for as many as three hours at a time in addition to "seeking other relationships, including (the) mother's extramarital affairs" and focusing on other issues such as financial troubles and substance abuse.

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Prosecutors also said that the parents did not properly secure the gun and were aware that their son had access to it on the day of the shooting.

"This is not a case where their son retrieved and used their gun. Instead, he retrieved and used his gun, the one they bought for him," they wrote.

The defense has previously said in court records that the Crumbleys "did have the gun at issue in a locked and hidden location."

The filing came as prosecutors sought to argue that the Crumbleys should remain in detention on $500,000 bonds, despite requests from the defense to lower the bond to $100,000, as prosecutors said they are "a greater risk of flight now than they were at the time of arraignment."

"As of October 18, 2021, they were over $11,000 behind on their house payments. Their house is currently for sale. They have sold their horses," prosecutors wrote. "They have already shown that they will flee if given the opportunity."

The defense has said they pose no danger to the public, are not a flight risk and have supporters within the community to vouch for them.

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