The parents of alleged Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley are back in court Tuesday — with a stern warning from the judge about their “disrespectful” courtroom behavior.
Jennifer and James Crumbley appeared in Rochester District Court for a preliminary hearing, where the judge will decide whether there’s enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
Prosecutors will call around 30 witnesses to testify against the parents, who are facing involuntary manslaughter charges for buying Ethan, 15, a gun and not safely storing it. They have both pleaded not guilty.
Their son, Ethan Crumbley, is accused of killing four and injuring seven others on Nov. 30 in the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan.
Ethan has been charged for 24 crimes as an adult, including terrorism and first-degree murder. His attorneys are planning to plead an insanity defense.
District Court Judge Julie Nicholson barred the pair from any courtroom communication Tuesday.
“While maybe I’m looking away or someone else is looking away, you’re not to have communication with each other. It’s disruptive. It’s disrespectful,” the judge said.
The two have been seen blowing kisses and mouthing “I love you” to each other during previous court proceedings. Prosecutors have told the judge that these “disrespectful” displays of affection in court need to stop.
“These communications … not only disparage the integrity of the judicial proceedings as a serious distraction, but are also traumatic for families of the deceased victims,” Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Markeisha Washington wrote, according to court filings.
In the week before the shooting, James took his teenage son to buy the firearm that he allegedly used in the attack. Jennifer posted pictures on social media the day after the purchase at a gun range with Ethan, saying the two were “testing out his new Christmas present.”
The couple gained notoriety when they fled in the direct aftermath of the shooting, launching a manhunt that led to their subsequent arrest.
Much of their parenting will be put under a microscope if the case goes to trial, as prosecutors try to prove the parents ignored warning signs and didn’t properly get their son help.
While Ethan will be represented a court-appointed lawyer, Jennifer and James have hired a high-powered legal team for themselves, including Shannon Smith, who represented disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.
In court, Jennifer was seen in a black and white jail jumpsuit wearing a mask below her noise, while James donned an orange jumpsuit.
With Post wires