Ethan Crumbley's Parents Told to Stop 'Disruptive' Communication in Court

James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of alleged Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, were in a Michigan court on Tuesday for a preliminary examination on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

This was the couple's first appearance together since December. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald asked the Crumbleys to stop mouthing "I love you" to each other while in court, which they had done at their last court appearance, saying it was traumatic for the victims' families, according to a report by Detroit News. On Tuesday, District Judge Julie Nicholson agreed, calling it "disrespectful" and "disruptive."

The Crumbleys are accused of supplying their son with a gun and not securing it adequately, as well as not telling school officials about his reportedly concerning behavior, leading to his alleged killing of four students and injuring of seven people at the Michigan high school on November 30, 2021.

They are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Madisyn Baldwin, Justin Shilling, Hana St. Juliana and Tate Myre. Both have pleaded not guilty. If convicted, each face up to 15 years in prison.

Kira Pennock, a horse riding instructor for Jennifer Crumbley, was the first witness to speak at the hearing, telling the court what Jennifer Crumbley texted to her on the day of the shooting, saying "my son ruined so many lives today," the Detroit News reported.

Earlier that day, Crumbley sent Pennock screenshots of a "troubling" drawing he made on a math assignment, which led Crumbley to have to meet with her son and a school counselor, Pennock testified.

"I was alarmed. I thought that was not normal," Pennock said. "All of the violence, all over the page. It didn't seem like something a kid would do on a test in school."

Pennock added that she heard about the shooting later that day and assumed it was Ethan Crumbley who carried it out based on the drawing she saw, though she added that she told Jennifer Crumbley: "It sounds like Ethan was a troubled kid" and she did not blame her for his alleged actions, according to Detroit News.

Andrew Smith, Jennifer Crumbley's supervisor at work, testified that on the day of the shooting, she texted to him: "OMG Andy, he's going to kill himself he must be the shooter." She also asked him not to fire her, texting: "I need my job. Please don't judge me for what my son did."

Smith said he was surprised Crumbley was worried about her job rather than what she thought her son had done, the Detroit News report added.

The purpose of a preliminary examination is to let the prosecution present its evidence to the judge, at which point the judge decides whether the case goes to trial and, if so, which evidence can be used. It also gives the defense an opportunity to see what it will have to defend against.

Update 2/8/22, 11:43 a.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

James Crumbley, Jennifer Crumbley, court
James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley were told to stop their "disruptive" behavior in court on February 8, 2022. Above, the Crumbleys appear in 52nd District Court for a probable cause conference on December 14, 2021, in Rochester Hills, Michigan, in the case of the Oxford High School mass shooting. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images