Police seize tablets and phones from Detroit art studio owner in Crumbley case
Troy – An artist questioned by detectives about his relationship with an Oxford Township husband and wife found by police at his Detroit art studio contacted the woman after hearing about the November 30 shooting at the Oxford high school, his lawyer said on Tuesday.
Andrzej Sikora, 65, of Troy was questioned by investigators from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office for two hours on Monday in Rochester Hills, his attorney, Clarence Dass, said.
Sikora is friends with James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents, 45 and 43, of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who is accused as an adult of killing four Oxford High students and injuring six others and a teacher in a carnage shootout.
“He (Sikora) had heard about the school shooting and texted Jennifer Crumbley asking if they were okay,” Dass told the Detroit News Tuesday. “On Friday she contacted him and told him that they had received death threats and asked to meet him in his studio. They wanted to put some distance between themselves and Oxford and the media, and wanted to wait to hear from their lawyers on what they should do next.
“He was not aware of any charges, but he was concerned for their safety.”
The Crumbleys were the subject of a manhunt on Friday involving local and federal authorities when they failed to show up for arraignments in the late afternoon after being indicted in connection with the mass shooting. The couple were found at Sikora’s studio in the 1100 block of Bellevue, east Detroit, early Saturday morning.
Police had released a description of the vehicle and were told of the Crumbleys’ whereabouts by the building owner, who spotted their Kia parked in his enclosed lot.
“It was a friendly interview and he (Sikora) cooperated and answered each of their questions,” said Dass, who insisted Sikora has no criminal guilt.
The Crumbleys have each been charged with four counts of manslaughter, each of which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. They both pleaded not guilty and are jailed in lieu of $ 500,000 in bonds.
“The investigation is ongoing,” said Oakland County Deputy Sheriff Mike McCabe, who confirmed that the items removed from Sikora’s home in Troy on Monday evening were still being analyzed by technicians at the Troy. sheriff’s computer crime lab.
Dass said some tablets and phones were taken from the home by investigators with a search warrant.
“It wasn’t a surprise,” Dass said. “I was told that they were going to look for certain materials and that we could be there during the research. It was very orderly.
Dass assumes investigators want to establish what communication occurred between the Crumbleys and Sikora.
“The majority of questions asked during the interview were about the Crumbleys,” said Dass, who declined to expand.
Sikora said he left the couple in their studio at 5 p.m. to go home and told them to lock up when they left.
“He didn’t expect them to spend the night there – they said they were waiting to hear from their lawyers on what to do next, but planned to surrender,” Dass said. .
Dass said it wasn’t until Saturday, after Sikora learned the couple were actively wanted by authorities, that he contacted Detroit Police and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. At that time, the couple were already in custody, Dass said.
Oakland County District Attorney Karen McDonald said the charges were in part because the Crumbleys bought the handgun for their son as a Christmas present, leaving the gun somewhere Ethan could accessing it and not having mentioned the weapon to school officials during a meeting about their son’s behavior in class. .
The school reunion was called on November 30 because a teacher became concerned that Ethan was looking for ammunition on his phone a day earlier. And on the morning of November 30, officials said a teacher observed a piece of paper in front of him with the words “thoughts won’t stop, help me” and a drawing of a bullet and the phrase : “Blood everywhere.”
There was a sketch of a person injured by two bullets and bleeding, a laughing emoji and the closing lines: “my life is useless” and “the world is dead”.
The teacher alerted a counselor, who summoned the Crumbleys to school. The couple were told they had to counsel their son within 48 hours, otherwise the school would refer the case to child protection services. Officials also asked the couple to bring their son home, which officials refused to do, and he was allowed to stay in the building.
They are scheduled for a probable causes conference on Dec. 14 in Rochester Hills District Court 52-3.
Ethan Crumbley is also being held in the Oakland County Jail without bond pending a probable cause conference Dec. 13 on 24 offenses.