A new court filing alleges that James and Jennifer Crumbley of suburban Detroit knew their son was depressed and heading down a dangerous and violent path but ignored his "troubling" texts and other red flags, failed to get him help and paid attention to their own lives instead, the Detroit Free Press reports. The Crumbleys are facing involuntary manslaughter charges in a novel case that seeks to hold parents partly responsible for a deadly school shooting. Prosecutors say the parents bought the gun that was used in the shooting as an early Christmas present for their son Ethan, who is facing terrorism and first-degree murder charges. "The defendants had information long before Nov. 30 (six months prior to the shooting) 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," the prosecution wrote in a Thursday court filing. "Instead of paying attention to their son and getting him help, they bought him a gun."
Prosecutors highlighted other disturbing signs the parents ignored. "Their son was torturing animals, even kept a baby bird's head in a jar on his bedroom floor, which he later took and placed in a school bathroom," the new filing says. "Meanwhile, the parents were focusing on their own issues, things like extramarital affairs, financial issues and substance abuse." Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald made the disclosures in a request to the court that James and Jennifer Crumbley remain locked up on $500,000 bond each, and that the couple not be granted a lower bond of $100,000 cash, as requested by the defense. "They did not know Ethan was a threat to anyone; and they certainly did not anticipate or cause the tragedy that unfolded at Oxford High School," the defense argued.