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Oxford high school shooting suspect waives hearing, will go to trial

Dec 01, 2021


Update (Jan. 7, 2022): The suspect in last November’s shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan waived a probable cause hearing Friday. The move means Ethan Crumbley will go to trial for murder and other charges.

Meanwhile, his parents Jennifer and James Crumbley appeared in court Friday for a bond hearing. The couple looked to lower their respective bonds from $500,000 to $100,000. That request was denied. The couple is accused of involuntary manslaughter for making a gun accessible to their son and refusing to take him home after school counselors discovered drawings of violence.

“The last thing they expected was that a school shooting would take place, or that their son would be responsible,” defense attorneys Shannon Smith and Mariell Lehman said in a court filing. Prosecutors argued the couple “will flee if they get the opportunity” to make bond, noting they went missing for hours after their charges were announced, and they had put their house up for sale.

Friday’s developments come just days before Oxford High students are expected to return to school for the first time since the shooting. They will start at a different building, with the high school not expected to reopen until at least the week of Jan. 23.

Update (Dec. 14, 2021): A day after Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley appeared in court, his parents did the same Tuesday. The video above shows both hearings. At the parents’ hearing, Judge Julie Nicholson granted a request to postpone a key hearing in determining whether or not James and Jennifer Crumbley will go to trial on involuntary manslaughter charges. Prosecutor Karen McDonald asked for the request, saying she needs more time to collect evidence from investigators and share it with the defense.

“We have police narratives, we have digital evidence, we have video evidence,” McDonald said Tuesday. “We have viewed a lot of it, certainly enough to establish charges here. But there’s also more investigation that needs to be done.”

That key hearing has now been scheduled for Feb. 8.

Update (Dec. 13, 2021): Oakland County District Judge Nancy Carniak denied a request to move the 15-year-old suspect in the shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan to a juvenile facility. She did agree the adult jail Ethan Crumbley is currently being held needs to ensure he can’t hear or see grown-up inmates. The video above shows scene from a Monday court hearing.

Crumbley’s attorney Paulette Loftin argued his lack of criminal history should allow him to be moved to a juvenile facility. Loftin called the Michigan high school shooting an “isolated incident”.

“I honestly do not believe that my client should be considered a menace to other juveniles,” Loftin said Monday. “This is someone who has never been in trouble before.”

Oakland County Prosecutor Marc Keast took exception to the term “isolated incident” being used to describe the shooting, saying it “quite frankly, does not do it justice.”

“This was a mass murder at a school, Judge. This was planned. It was premeditated,” Keast said. “The evidence that we have and that we discussed at the arraignment showed it was premeditated for a period of time before it was commenced.”

Crumbley’s next hearing is set for Jan. 7.

Update (Dec. 3, 2021): A prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges Friday against the parents of a 15-year-old suspect accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people in a shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan. James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

“The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said Thursday. The gun “seems to have been just freely available to that individual.”

Authorities have said Ethan Crumbley opened fire shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday at Oxford High School, roughly 30 miles north of Detroit. Seven students and a teacher were shot before Crumbley surrendered to sheriff’s deputies.

Three of the students died Tuesday. The fourth died Wednesday at a hospital.

The semi-automatic gun used in the shooting was purchased legally by Crumbley’s father last week, according to investigators.

Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.

Original Story (Dec. 1, 2021): Authorities in Michigan reported Wednesday a fourth student has died following Tuesday’s mass shooting at a high school roughly 30 miles north of Detroit. The four dead have been identified as 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, and 17-year-olds Madisyn Baldwin and Justin Shilling. Myre had died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital. Shilling was the one who died Wednesday.

The shooting also wounded seven others. Among the wounded is a 14-year-old girl who was placed on a ventilator after surgery.

“I don’t understand how someone — anyone — could do to a community what has been done,” Pastor Jesse Holt said at a Tuesday night prayer vigil for the victims.

Hours after the fourth death, prosecutors announced they are charging the suspected shooter with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of assault with intent to murder. They say 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley will be tried as an adult. According to authorities, Crumbley had no previous run-ins with his department. Authorities were not aware of any disciplinary history for for the shooting suspect at Oxford.

As of Tuesday night, a motive had not been determined for Crumbley, a sophomore at Oxford High School. Authorities said they were searching the suspect’s cellphone, school video footage and social media posts.

“The person that’s got the most insight into the motive’s not talking,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Tuesday. Undersheriff Mike McCabe said the student’s parents advised their son not to talk to investigators. “So if we find anything in any of the evidence we’ve seized, whether it be a phone dump or any of the evidence that was seized from the home, obviously that leads toward motive, that will be something that we’re very much looking for.” On Wednesday, prosecutor Karen McDonald said prosecutors are “confident” they can show the Michigan school shooting was premeditated.

“There is a mountain of digital evidence. Videotape, social media, all digital evidence possible,” she said.

What authorities do know is how the 15-year-old got his hands on the 9mm Sig Sauer used in the shooting.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the weapon used in the shooting was purchased on Nov. 26, four days ago, by the boy’s father,” Bouchard said.

Paulette Loftin, Ethan Crumbley’s attorney: “I honestly do not believe that my client should be considered a menace to other juveniles. This is someone who has never been in trouble before. This is not someone who has a history of assaulting kids his age or any other negative contact with his peers. This one isolated incident is all that we’re looking at here today.”

Marc Keast, assistant Oakland County prosecutor: “Judge, this cannot be compared to any other case that this court or any court in this county has seen before. And calling this an isolated incident, quite frankly, does not do it justice. This was a mass murder at a school, Judge. This was planned. It was premeditated. The evidence that we have and that we discussed at the arraignment showed it was premeditated for a period of time before it was commenced.”

Judge Nancy T. Carniak, Oakland County District Court, speaking to Ethan Crumbley, charged in school shooting: “Mr. Crumbley, did you hear and understand what your attorney just stated?”

Crumbley: “Yes, your honor.”

Carniak: “And are you in agreement with that?”

Crumbley: “Yes.”

Carniak: “So, you’re not waiving, of course, your right to a preliminary exam, just the right to have it heard within the statutory time period. And that is, of course, so your attorney can properly prepare for a preliminary exam if one is necessary. Again, do you understand and agree to that?”

Crumbley: “Yes, your honor.”

Carniak: “I do find good cause to waive that statutory time period. I will adjourn the probable cause conference to January 7th at 9 a.m.”

Karen McDonald, Oakland County prosecutor: “This case is unprecedented in Oakland County and perhaps the state. It is unlike any other case, and, given that, we submit that the typical protocols for discovery and the normal timeframes for a preliminary examination will not allow adequate time for the prosecution or the defense, for that matter, to adequately prepare.”

Judge Julie Nicholson, district court, speaking to Jennifer Crumbley, defendant: “And are you willing to waive that right?”

Crumbley: “Yes, your honor.”

Nicholson: “OK. The court will go ahead and reset the preliminary examination for February 8th at 1:15.”

Karen McDonald, Oakland County prosecutor: “And we were certainly not going to arrange meetings to prepare for litigation while these children were being buried and this community is trying to heal.”