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Parents of Michigan school shooter will have separate trials, judge says

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The parents of a Michigan school shooter will have separate trials for their alleged roles in the deaths of four students, a judge said Monday.

James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley had presented a united defense for two years. But their lawyers asked for separate trials after prosecutors shared new evidence.

"It is apparent that a conflict exists,” wrote Mariell Lehman, who represents James Crumbley.

Oakland County Judge Cheryl Matthews granted the request, though it wasn't immediately clear who would go first. The Crumbleys had been preparing for a Jan. 23 trial.

Ethan Crumbley, 17, killed four fellow students at Oxford High School in November 2021 and wounded six more students and a staff member. He pleaded guilty and faces a possible life sentence on Dec. 8.

The parents are charged with involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of contributing to the tragedy by making a gun accessible to their son at home and ignoring his mental health needs.

Prosecutors said the Crumbleys have a constitutional right to separate trials, though they noted that two trials will be tough for victims' families and shooting survivors.