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(Video: Fox News)
The parents of the teenage suspect in a Michigan high school shooting have been arrested following a short manhunt and face an uncertain future with authorities charging them for the actions of their clearly disturbed son, a development that could have far-reaching implications in terms of the law.
James and Jennifer Crumbley have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter after 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley went on a rampage at Oxford High School on Tuesday, claiming the lives of four of his fellow students in another of the tragic school shootings that have plagued the nation for years.
Prosecutors moved quickly to hold the parents responsible, a decision that raises serious legal questions that former assistant U.S. attorney Andy McCarthy raised during a Friday appearance on Fox News with Neil Cavuto.
When asked by the host about the charging of Crumbley’s parents, McCarthy responded, “I really think it’s outrageous Neil, I mean I understand it because people are very hot, emotions are very raw, this was a heinous heinous act.”
“It’s going to be the subject of a prosecution where the kid who did the shooting who’s going to be treated as an adult which the prosecutors have the discretion to do is appropriately looking at multiple life counts and attempted murder counts, you know he can’t live long enough to serve the number of years that are going to be imposed in this case but we’re not supposed to make criminal law on the fly,” he said.
McCarthy added, “and the state of Michigan has considered a number of times enacting a law, this child access prevention law that many states have adopted which would make criminal what happened here which was the that the parents allowed the child to get access to the weapon the state of Michigan has decided not to enact that law.”
He continued, saying, “and you can argue that that’s a good thing or a bad thing but the fact is it’s a thing and it’s up to the legislature to make the criminal law so what happened here is they don’t have a law to prosecute what the parents did even though the legislature’s considered it and not enacted it.”
“So at a time when everybody’s hot and emotions are raw, prosecutors are creating a crime on the fly to attach to these parents and if you think about it, doesn’t make much more sense to accuse them of complicity in murder as opposed to the reprehensible negligence that they engaged in than it makes to accuse the school officials of murder,” he said.
“I mean, yes, everybody dropped the ball here but let’s be real about who committed the murder and who didn’t.” McCarthy pointed out.
Cavuto then posed the question: “Has this become the first time, at least to your memory anywhere right away the parents have become caught up in in the charges here?”
“There’s always been cases with school shootings where you wonder where the parents were what they were doing how they could not have known about what their son was about to commit, I say son because most of these have been you know, perpetrated by boys, young men, I’m just wondering, um this is a unique case in that respect isn’t it?” he asked.
“Yeah “I’ve never, that I can think of Neil,” replied McCarthy. “I’ve never heard of a case where you see parents get charged under circumstances where there’s no evidence that they had any complicity in a plan or something where you know there was an actual objective to kill people and I’ve seen a lot of cases like this and they’re… you want to wring the necks of the people who are involved in them.”
McCarthy drew on his years of experience to opine on the charges.
“I was involved, for example, in terrorism investigations where people sold components that were obviously components for explosives like explosive powder to people who were very suspicious characters and wanted to pay in cash and made you think that, you know, boy these guys must be up to no good,” he said.
“Nobody thought that once a building got bombed and people got killed that the store owners who lawfully sold these components to these suspicious characters should have been charged with terrorism crimes even though you wanted to grab each of them by the lapels and say what on earth were you thinking,” McCarthy added.
Developments in the case against the Crumbleys will be closely watched and their prosecution could potentially inspire legal retribution against the parents of other school shooters for the acts of their murderous offspring.
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