Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley appeared in court Friday and waived his right to a preliminary hearing, sending his case straight to trial.
Crumbley, 15, appeared via video from jail for the brief 9 a.m. probable cause hearing in Oakland County District Court in connection to the Nov. 30 slaughter at Oxford High School that left four students dead and seven others injured.
Prosecutors in Michigan typically present evidence to show probable cause to send suspects to trial on felony charges, but the high school sophomore waived his right to that stage.
Crumbley is charged with four counts of murder and other crimes as an adult and remains held without bond. He faces up to life in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty last month.
The brief hearing Friday, which lasted less than 10 minutes, came hours before his parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, will go before another judge during a scheduled 1:15 p.m. hearing in a bid to be released on lower bond.
The pair, who have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, are accused of allowing their son to get the 9mm handgun he allegedly used in the mass shooting and ignored key warning signs ahead of the massacre. The couple have been jailed since Dec. 4 on $500,000 bond.
“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 insisted in a court filing.
Prosecutors, however, are opposed to a lower bond for the elder Crumbleys, who face a potential of up to 60 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
They noted in court filings that the couple was missing for hours when charges were announced on Dec. 3 before police found them miles away in a Detroit art studio early the next morning.
The elder Crumbleys, who have also pleaded not guilty, “will flee if they get the opportunity,” prosecutors said, noting they were behind in mortgage payments and had put their house up for sale.
Prosecutors previously detailed how the 45-year-old dad James bought the handgun his son used just four days prior — on Black Friday — as an early Christmas present.
They were both then called in to meet school officials who were alarmed at their son’s behavior, showing them distressing drawings of a shooting, with the words “help me” and “the thoughts won’t stop.”
Instead, they insisted he remained in classes — with the teen allegedly already hiding in his backpack the gun he used to kill Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16 and Justin Shilling, 17.
Prosecutors accused Crumbley’s parents of also ignoring other disturbing behavior — including their son “torturing animals” and “even leaving a baby bird’s head in a jar on his bedroom floor, which he later took and placed in a school bathroom.”
All three Crumbleys are being held in Oakland County Jail, where they are being kept apart and forbidden to discuss the case together.
Students at Oxford High School, about 30 miles north of Detroit, are expected to return to classes for the first time since the shooting starting on Monday, but will do so at a different building. The school may reopen during the week of Jan. 24, but only after families have the chance to visit, the district’s superintendent has said.
With Post wires