Gun used in the shooting was given to Ethan Crumbley by parents as an early Christmas present, prosecutors say.
A judge in the United States has ordered the parents of a 15-year-old boy charged with killing four students at his Michigan high school to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges.
Rochester Hills District Court Judge Julie Nicholson said following Thursday’s preliminary examination for Jennifer and James Crumbley that she found enough evidence to send their case to circuit court.
They are accused of making the gun used in the shooting available to the teen and failing to intervene when he showed signs of mental distress at home and at school.
Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, “terrorism” and gun charges in the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School, about 50 miles (30 miles) north of Detroit. In addition to the four students slain, six other students and a teacher were wounded.
The gun used in the shooting was given to Ethan Crumbley as an early Christmas present, prosecutors have said.
“The court finds that the deaths of the four victims could have been avoided if James and Jennifer Crumbley exercised ordinary care and diligence in the care of their son,” Nicholson said.
The judge said prosecutors showed Ethan Crumbley presented a danger to the community and “that danger was apparent to an ordinary mind”. Testimony showed that Ethan Crumbley was a “troubled young man” and his parents knew it, she said.
“But they purchased a gun, which he believed was his,” Nicholson added.
The Crumbleys’ attorneys have insisted the couple did not know their son might plan an attack and did not make the gun easy to find in their home.
Earlier, the boy’s counselor told the judge he had informed the teen’s parents on the morning of the shootings that he believed their son was a threat to himself and needed mental health support.
“I said as soon as possible, today if possible,” Shawn Hopkins testified in the preliminary examination for Jennifer and James Crumbley. But, he testified, Jennifer Crumbley told him, “today was not an option because they had to return to work.”
“I did not want Ethan to be alone at home,” Hopkins added.
On the morning of the shooting, Ethan’s parents had been summoned to the school and confronted with his drawings, which included a handgun and the words: “The thoughts will not stop. Help me. ” Authorities said the parents refused to take him home after the 13-minute meeting.
Hopkins testified that he provided Ethan’s parents with a list of mental health support resources at that meeting and that as it was ending Jennifer Crumbley asked, “Are we done?”
“I wrote Ethan a pass back to class,” Hopkins continued. “I told him, ‘I just want you to know I care about you.’ I do not remember them saying goodbye [to Ethan]. ”