Accused Michigan school shooter pleads not guilty to murder, terrorism charges

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Lawyers will meet again next week to set a date for a hearing into Ethan Crumbley’s attempt to move from adult to juvenile prison as a surge in Covid cases forces a delay in the procedure.

PONTIAC, Mich. (CN) — The Michigan sophomore accused of committing a fatal shooting at his high school returned to court on Wednesday for his arraignment and to schedule a hearing on where he should To be in jail.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, remained silent as his public defender pleaded not guilty on his behalf. Crumbley was charged as an adult with terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime for the shooting at Oxford High School on November 30.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Kwamé L. Rowe, a former assistant county prosecutor from 2015 to 2021, began the hearing by acknowledging an appeal with attorneys in which he wanted to confirm that his appearing as a judge would not create a conflict of interest. .

Rowe also addressed Crumbley’s placement in the adult section of the Oakland County Detention Center. The judge noted that under state law, a hearing must be held on the defendant’s custodial status within 30 days of his arrest, but admitted that due to a local increase of Covid-19 cases, an in-person hearing would not be possible now.

“Because the number of Covid cases is so high right now, the court finds good reason to extend those 30 days…because we cannot conduct an in-person hearing at this time due to positivity rates” , did he declare.

Rowe agreed with the defense that the case should be handled in person. He asked both the prosecution and defense to submit briefs for a lawyers-only status conference on Jan. 19 to set a future date for the hearing.

The judge also reappointed attorney Deborah H. McKelvy as guardian ad litem for Crumbley.

The accused Oxford, Michigan shooter briefly faced Oakland County District Court Judge Nancy R. Carniak on Jan. 7 for a probable cause hearing. He agreed to waive his right to a preliminary review hearing, where evidence against a defendant is presented. The waiver means he was bound to the Oakland County Circuit Court for the trial as charged.

At a previous hearing on Dec. 13, McKelvy expressed concern about his client’s current location in custody and suggested moving to juvenile detention.

“I’m concerned that his incarceration in Oakland County Jail…I’m not sure he’s completely removed from the noises of adult inmates,” she said.

But assistant prosecutor Marc Keast did not move.

“It can’t be compared to any other case…calling it an isolated incident doesn’t do it justice,” Keast said. “It was a mass murder in a school, judge, it was planned.”

Carniak agreed with Keast that Crumbley’s current location was fine.

James and Jennifer Crumbley also appeared before a judge on January 7 in an unsuccessful attempt to lower their bond.

Oakland County District Attorney Karen D. McDonald reviewed a list of damning actions in the hearing that she said proved the parents were at risk of fleeing.

“We need to talk about… what Jennifer and James Crumbley did on November 30 just hours after their son murdered children at a school,” she said. “They started making plans…they drove to Lapeer and stayed at a hotel…they also bought a total of four cell phones…they emptied their son’s bank account, transferring $3,000 to their own account, leaving it with a balance of $0.99.”

The couple’s next court date is set for February 8.

According to a pair of $100 million lawsuits filed against the Oxford Community School District over shootings, the Crumbley family’s social media posts should have spurred officials to action, but they weren’t taken seriously enough. seriously by the school administrators.

School officials were ignored when they attempted to contact James and Jennifer, prosecutors say, but Jennifer texted Ethan playfully scolding him. “Mdr. I’m not mad at you. You need to learn not to get caught,” she reportedly wrote.

The Oakland County District Attorney’s Office published drawings made by Crumbley that were discovered by teachers in late November. One of the captions read “blood everywhere”. McDonald said he later altered the designs to conceal the violence.

When news of the shooting became public, McDonald said Jennifer contacted her son via text.

“Ethan. Don’t,” she wrote.

Three students were pronounced dead on the day of the shooting and a fourth victim succumbed to his injuries the following morning. Eight other people were injured, including a teacher. The weapon used was a 9mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 pistol, according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. The suspect had at least two 15-round magazines, one of which had seven rounds remaining.

Oxford, population 3,586, is in central Oakland County, about 40 miles north of Detroit.

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