Two lawyers representing the parents of Ethan Crumbley, the suspected Michigan high school shooter, said on Saturday that the handgun the teen allegedly used to kill and wound fellow students last week was actually “locked” up, contrary to earlier reporting.
Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said earlier in the week that 45-year-old James Crumbley bought the handgun — a 9mm Sig Sauer — at a local firearms store on Nov. 26. She noted further that 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley was able to “freely” gain access to the pistol before he allegedly used it to shoot students at Oxford High School.
But attorneys Mariell Lehman and Shannon Smith added a new twist over the weekend, Fox News reported.
“That gun was actually locked, so when the prosecution is stating that this child had free access to a gun, that is…absolutely not true,” Lehman noted Saturday morning in court, as Crumbley’s parents were arraigned.
The lawyers, who are also representing Jennifer Crumbley, 43, went on to accuse the prosecutor of ginning up a media “spectacle’ on Friday after police issued a BOLO (“be on the lookout”) alert for the teen’s parents after they did not arrive for an arraignment that was apparently scheduled that day; McDonald charged the pair with four counts of involuntary manslaughter during a follow-up press conference.
Local police, along with members of the U.S. Marshals Service, went on to locate the parents in a commercial building in Detroit early Saturday. They were reportingly hiding in an art studio in the building. The Crumbleys are now being detained in the same jail as their son.
“Unlike the prosecution, we weren’t attempting to make this a media … spectacle. This case is absolutely the saddest, most tragic, worst case imaginable,” Lehman noted on Saturday. “There is absolutely no doubt.
“But our clients were absolutely going to turn themselves in. It was just a matter of logistics, and all the prosecution had to do was communicate with me about it,” Lehman added, Fox News noted.
The two attorneys, who represented convicted child molester Larry Nassar, went on to say they were set to “make arrangements” for their clients to turn themselves in to authorities on Friday and attempted to get in touch with McDonald’s office several times that day “but never got a call back.”
“The prosecutor’s office, instead of getting back to us in any way, decided to have a press conference, and as Miss McDonald admitted, try to find a way to act to surprise our clients and catch them off guard when it was so unnecessary,” said Lehman. “And last night and throughout the day, we were in contact with our clients. They were scared. They were terrified. They were not at home. They were figuring out what to do. Getting finances in order.”
However, McDonald pushed back on Lehman and Smith’s claims, saying that the Crumbleys “didn’t turn themselves in” on Friday.
“We were told they were out of town, except that yesterday morning they withdrew $4,000 from an ATM in Rochester Hills,” she said.
“The whole country knew that these charges were coming,” McDonald added. “And lastly, to suggest that anyone is somehow using this incident to create press — there’s a lot of attention here because four children were murdered, and seven others were injured, and that that is on the mind of every single person in this country.”
Ahead of Saturday’s arraignment, the two attorneys said: “We understand that our clients were apprehended last night, although we fully intended to turn them in first thing this morning for arraignment, contrary to the misinformation that has been rampant in the media.”
“While it’s human nature to want to find someone to blame or something to point to or something that gives us answers, the charges, in this case, are intended to make an example and send a message,” they added. “The prosecution has very much cherry-picked and slanted specific facts to further their narrative to do that.
“We intend to fight this case in the courtroom and not in the court of public opinion. We know that in the end the entire story and truth will prevail,” they said.
Killed in the shootings were 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 15-year-old Justin Shilling.
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