A Fox News guests said that the prosecution of the parents of Ethan Crumbley, who has been charged with killing four people in a mass shooting at an Oxford, Michigan high school, is "politically motivated”.
Andrew Branca, an attorney specialising in self-defense law, appeared on Fox News' Ingraham Angle with Laura Ingraham, where he made the comments.
During the interview, Mr Branca offered his sympathies to the parents who lost children in the shooting and said that Ethan Crumbley should be held to the "fullest extent of the law”, but went on to criticise the prosecution of the 15-year-old's parents.
"These parents are nothing but politically motivated falderal," he said. "Involuntary manslaughter involves recklessness, which is a heightened degree of negligence. You have to have intentionally created a foreseeable risk of death to others and have intentionally disregarded that risk. There's no evidence the parents did anything of the sort in this case."
James and Jennifer Crumbley, Ethan's parents, have each been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the school shooting.
Reporting in the wake of the shooting has revealed that Ms Crumbley knew her son was searching for ammunition on his phone while sitting in class. After her son got in trouble for looking up ammo during a lesson, she told him she "wasn't mad" and advised him the learn how to not get caught next time, according to Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald.
Further, Ms Crumbley shared social media posts highlighting her son's "early Christmas" gift – the handgun he allegedly used in the shooting. Mr Crumbley purchased the gun for his son to use.
When news broke that a shooting had occurred at Ethan's high school, according to prosecutors, his mother allegedly texted him, saying "Ethan, don't do it." His father also rushed home to search for the gun. When he found it was missing, he called 911 to report it missing and told dispatchers he believed his son may be the shooter.
Mr Branca said the prosecutor in the Crumbley's case, Ms McDonald, brought the charges against the parents without evidence that they were aware their son might carry out a shooting.
He likened her ruling to other "politically motivated" cases "like the George Zimmerman case" and with "George Floyd, with Freddie Gray, with Kyle Rittenhouse."
"They make these accusations in the absence of evidence to get the case into court in the first place where they have a new bag of tricks they can use," he said. "So they'll make these accusations, inflammatory accusations without evidence, they'll get the defendant into court, and then the accusations are completely forgotten, they're never actually proven in court."
He then blamed the school for not having better awareness of Ethan Crumbley's state of mind, suggesting the school officials were in a better position to know the teen's disposition than his own parents.
The Detroit Free Press reported that the Crumbelys’ neighbours warned the authorities that Ethan's parents were allegedly neglectful toward their son.
Kayla LeMieux, who lives near the family, said she called child protective services years ago to warn them that the pair allegedly often left their son home alone while they went out bar-hopping.
“When they were gone, he would come knock on our door,” Ms LeMieux, 28, told the publication. “They didn’t leave him with a phone.”
She said she spoke to the couple directly about her concerns, but they allegedly brushed them off, saying their son was "fine”.
The couple is currently held on a $500,000 bond and considered a flight risk after they fled their homes and allegedly attempted to evade police when they learned they would also face charges in their son's shooting.
The couple was eventually found in the basement of a commercial building in Detroit. Ms Crumbley allegedly tried to flee the area when she realised someone had spotted them and called the police, but she was later apprehended by law enforcement.
An attorney representing the couple insists that they were not fleeing the authorities, but had left their homes for their "protection”. The attorney claims the couple intended to turn themselves in for arraignment.