By Jessica Mathews /

A key hearing that will determine if there’s enough evidence for the parents of the teen accused in the mass shooting at Oxford High School to face trial will continue later this month.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are charged with involuntary manslaughter. They’re accused of making a gun accessible to Ethan Crumbley and failing to intervene when the 15-year-old showed possible signs of mental distress at home and at school. Four students at Oxford High School were killed and seven more people were injured on November 30th.

The Crumbleys’ attorneys insist the couple didn’t know their son might be planning an attack and didn’t make the gun easy to find in their home.

The couple appeared in court yesterday for a preliminary hearing. Defense attorneys asked the judge to consider a postponement to further prepare but the motion was denied and the hearing proceeded with witnesses.

An investigator testified that the day before the shooting, Jennifer Crumbley sent her son a text message asking if he had showed teachers a “pic of your new gun”.

The text was one of several between the two the day before the attack after school officials left a voicemail informing her that the 15-year-old was looking up ammunition on his phone and a teacher was concerned.

Jennifer Crumbley's boss, Andrew Smith, testified that she said right before the shooting that she felt she was failing her son.
Toward the end of the day, the prosecution questioned a detective about text message records, videos of handguns, and Ethan’s web searching history.

Messages between him and another juvenile were said to total 25,000 printed pages and that thread stopped abruptly around last Halloween. Some were said to have detailed kidnapping and killing another classmate as well as videos of killing and mutilating baby birds.

A detective testified that Crumbley visited a website that was not named 421 times last November and that he searched very graphic content dealing with other school shootings, particularly ones in Florida, and people being killed.

A Defense attorney later argued that they were missing pages of text messages being admitted as evidence in the case and requested an adjournment, calling it a “big problem”.

Prosecutors responded that nothing was missing anything and the detective was referencing the same evidence turned over to the defense and “she just didn’t find it in the evidence given to her”.

A brief recess and discussion in chambers followed. Upon return, the judge said due to the voluminous nature of the exhibit and not likely being able to finish with the witness, she decided to continue the exam on February 24th at 8:30am.

Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes. His lawyers filed a notice of an insanity defense, which will likely freeze his case while experts examine him.