Accused Oxford High shooter Ethan Crumbley waives hearing, headed to trial
Rochester Hills — A lawyer for accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley said Friday there is no discussion of a plea deal with prosecutors at this time.
Oakland County attorney Paulette Michel Loftin, one of two attorneys representing Crumbley, told The Detroit News Friday that while there is a possibility of a guilty plea with any trial, a plea is not something being considered at this juncture in the legal proceedings.
"That's not even on the horizon right now," said Loftin. "We are far from any decision (about a possible plea deal)."
Her statements contradicted a media report Friday that stated a guilty plea is being considered for the teen.
Ethan Crumbley is being tried as an adult in the fatal shooting of four fellow students at Oxford High School on Nov. 30 and the wounding of seven others, including a teacher. He faces four counts of first-degree premeditated murder and 20 other felonies.
In an appearance Friday in Oakland County District Court, Crumbley, 15, waived his probable cause hearing will now head to trial in Oakland County Circuit Court.
The hearing lasted about five minutes.
“Has anybody threatened you or promised you anything to waive your right to a preliminary exam?” Judge Nancy Carniak asked.
“No,” Crumbley said.
Prosecutors agreed to the waiver. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald was on the Zoom hearing, as was Assistant Prosecutor Mark Keast, who is trying the case.
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With that, Crumbley was bound over for trial.
Crumbley is jailed without bond, but a new bond hearing will be handled at the circuit court level “within the next two weeks,” Carniak said.
That bond hearing will be at 9 a.m. on Jan. 14 before Oakland Circuit Judge Kwame Rowe, court Administrator Kevin Oeffner confirmed.
Rowe was appointed to the bench in August by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. He is a former Oakland County assistant prosecutor.
Friday's probable cause conference, to determine whether there was enough evidence for his case to proceed to trial, was postponed from Dec. 13 due to the large volume of evidence still being reviewed at the time.
Crumbley is accused of bringing a semi-automatic handgun to school on Nov. 30 and killing four students and wounding six others and a teacher in a rampage.
He is charged as an adult and faces 24 felony charges: one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, 12 counts of felony firearm and the four premeditated murder charges. He faces up to life in prison without parole if convicted.
On the day of the shooting, one of Crumbley's teachers saw graphic drawings with violent images and pleas for help and reported what she saw to counselors, according to police and school officials.
Crumbley allegedly told counselors once he was taken to the office that his drawing was part of a video game he was designing and that he planned to pursue video game design as a career, Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne said in a statement. Crumbley remained in the office for about 90 minutes and worked on school assignments while the school tried to reach his parents.
After speaking to parents James and Jennifer Crumbley in the school office and again to Ethan Crumbley, Oxford school counselors concluded he did not intend on committing either self-harm or harm to others, Throne said. His parents were informed they had 48 hours to seek counseling for their child or the school would contact Child Protective Services. They were asked to take their son home for the day, but they "flatly" refused and left without their son, Throne said.
Police have said they believe the handgun was concealed in Ethan Crumbley's backpack.
McDonald has said a teacher reported Ethan Crumbley was searching for ammunition on his phone at school a day before the shooting. School officials reached out to Jennifer Crumbley but never heard back from the parents.
Loftin told The Detroit News that she asked the court to appoint a guardian for Crumbley. Carniak appointed attorney Deborah McKelvy. McKelvy has advocated unsuccessfully that Crumbley be moved from the Oakland County Jail to a facility for youths. The teen could hear adult inmates, she said, which is a violation of laws that require that those younger than 18 be kept out of sight and sound of adult prisoners when in detention.
Attorney Amy Hopp is also assigned to the criminal case.
James and Jennifer Crumbley, who are accused of providing the handgun to their son, are charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter. They are scheduled to be in court Friday afternoon for a bond hearing. They are being held on separate $500,000 bonds and their attorneys are trying to get the bonds lowered to $100,000 each.
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Attorneys for the parents have argued in court filings they had no idea their son posed a threat to anyone and the gun police said they took from him after the Nov. 30 shooting had been hidden in a locked drawer in their bedroom.
The four Oxford High School students killed in the shooting are Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; and Justin Shilling, 17.
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