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Teen in Michigan school shooting waives key hearing, sending case to trial court

Video image of Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley
Michigan school shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, 15, waived a key hearing Friday, sending his case directly to trial court.
(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

A teenager charged with killing four students at their Michigan high school waived a key hearing Friday, a decision that moves his case straight to a trial court.

Prosecutors in Michigan typically have to present some evidence to show there’s probable cause to send people to trial on felony charges, a low bar. Ethan Crumbley waived his right to go through that stage.

Crumbley, 15, is charged as an adult with murder and other crimes. Four students were killed and others were injured during a Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School, about 30 miles north of Detroit.

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Crumbley’s court hearing lasted less than 10 minutes. Separately, his parents are due in court Friday afternoon to try to get their bond lowered to $100,000 from $500,000 and leave jail.

Jennifer and James Crumbley are charged with involuntary manslaughter. They’re accused of making a gun accessible to their son and refusing to take him home earlier that day when school counselors confronted them with distressing 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.

No child kills in a vacuum. The decision to charge the Oxford High suspect’s parents might spark legislation to get troubled youth the help they need.

Prosecutors are opposing the lower bond. They noted that the couple went missing for hours when charges were announced Dec. 3, before police found them miles away in a Detroit art studio early the next morning.

Smith said they had planned to appear in court Dec. 4.

The Crumbleys “will flee if they get the opportunity,” prosecutors said in a court filing, noting that they were behind on mortgage payments and had put their house up for sale.

Oxford High students are expected to return to school next week for the first time since the shooting but at a different building. The high school could reopen during the week of Jan. 23.


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