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James and Jennifer Crumbley Trial Updates

James and Jennifer Crumbley are charged with involuntary manslaughter after November's school shooting outside of Detroit that left four students dead and seven people injured. Prosecutors allege that the Crumbleys made it too easy for their son, 15, to gain access to a handgun.

James and Jennifer Crumbley Trial Updates

ROCHESTER, Mich. - James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, were in court on Tuesday, Feb. 8, for a preliminary exam as an idea of what evidence the prosecution will use in the case is being reviewed.

For the first time in a month, James and Jennifer are both in court where evidence and testimony from witnesses will be given during the preliminary exam. The parents of Ethan Crumbley were both charged shortly after the shooting at Oxford High School that killed four students and injured several others.

The hearing, originally set to start at 8;30 a.m., did not start until closer to 9:15. It started with the defense team asking for an adjournment in the preliminary hearing, citing a lack of sufficient time to review the evidence the prosecutor plans to review.

However, the judge rejected the request and said the hearing would take place on Tuesday.

From there, the prosecution requested the court order them to stop communicating. The Crumbleys attorneys said they were not intentionally sending displays of affection to hurt families of the victims and "didn't even know they were being broadcast". The defense agreed that the two would cease communication in court.

Last week, prosecutor Karen McDonald's office released a statement calling their actions "a serious distraction" and "traumatic for the family members" of the victims involved in the shooting.

James and Jennifer were both in restraints and their attorneys asked for permission for both James and Jennifer to have a hand free to communicate with their attorneys via notes. However, a deputy from the Oakland County Jail objected to this request, citing their maximum security status.

With that out of the way, the prosecution called its first witness, Kira Pennock, a horse farm owner in Metamora, Michigan, south of Lapeer in Oakland County.

Pennock said she first met Jennifer Crumbley through a mutual friend who housed the Crumbley's first horse. She testified that Jennifer purchased another one and told her she was drinking when she bought the horse for $5,000 in 2021.

She testified how the family kept the horses at the farm but also how she believed there were marital problems between the couple before later turning to Ethan.

Pennock said that she didn't recall Jennifer talking positively, if at all, about Ethan and called her son 'weird'. She said Jennifer said he only had one friend and spent a lot of time online and playing games. She also said Jennifer did not consider him 'normal'.

"When she would talk about him it was ‘oh, he doesn’t do normal kid things'," Pennock said.

Jennifer was supposed to be at the facility around 4:30 on Nov. 30 for a training session but Pennock learned of the morning meeting at Oxford High School. The two women talked via Facebook Messenger and Pennock said testified she didn't know what the meeting was about. She asked Jennifer if she still wanted to train later that day.

Jennifer said everything was okay but Ethan was having a hard time. She then shared a picture of what Ethan had drawn at school and confirmed she was planning to be there later in the day.

Around 2:30 p.m., Jennifer said she would not make it that day for their planned training session. This was an hour after the shooting at Oxford High School and Jennifer asked her to work one of their horses that day. Pennock asked about the shooting and asked if Ethan was okay. Jennifer did not respond to that message but sent one at 4:42 p.m. on Nov. 30, Jennifer messaged she ‘needed to sell her horses stat’.

Pennock told the defense attorneys she planned to take care of the horses. After it became clear that Ethan was the alleged shooter, Pennock confirmed she texted Jennifer that she didn't think what had happened was her fault. "It sounds like Ethan was a troubled kid," read one of the texts.

"I wish we had warnings. They made a terrible decision. He's a good kid," Jennifer replied in text messages.

With both sides finished questioning Pennock, she was dismissed, and the next witness was called.

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