A Michigan teenager charged in a mass shooting that left four students dead at his high school made his first appearance in trial court Wednesday.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, pleaded not guilty in front of Oakland County Circuit Court via video from the jail where he is being held on first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and gun charges. Crumbley is charged as an adult in the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.

The teen is accused of killing four people — Hana St. Juliana, 14; Tate Myre, 16; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Justin Shilling, 17 — and injuring seven others, including a teacher. 

Crumbley’s attorneys had waived his preliminary examination, moving the case toward trial. Through defense attorney Paulette Michel Loftin, Crumbley entered a plea of not guilty. 

The defense had also previously asked a lower court judge to transfer the teenager to a youth detention center, but the judge denied the request. Attorney Loftin cited a federal statute, stating juveniles held in adult jails — even those charged as adults — should not be within ‘sight’ or ‘sound’ of adults. 

The court argued that the Oakland County jail doesn’t offer that distinction.

Ethan Crumbley, who was charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured more at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, made his first appearance in court today

Ethan Crumbley, who was charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured more at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, made his first appearance in court today

Ethan Crumbley, who was charged as an adult with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured more at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, made his first appearance in court today

However, that same statute also states that a juvenile’s incarceration should be re-evaluated every 30 days, meaning it is likely that the argument for transferring Crumbley to a youth detention center will resurface in court proceedings. 

During the hearing, Crumbley said little, except to acknowledge that he could hear the judge and confirm that he was OK with the hearing proceeding via Zoom.

Judge Kwame Rowe set a status conference for January 19.

Today’s arraignment came after new details related to Crumbley’s actions weeks before the shooting emerged in the lawsuit. The case seeks to hold the school accountable for the shooting, alleging many lapses were made by several school officials who reportedly chose to keep on ignoring multiple red flags that Crumbley was spiraling out of control.   

One of those red flags involves the teen bringing a bird’s head in a Mason jar filled with yellow liquid three weeks before the massacre took place, according to the case, which reported its findings after exclusive access to the revised lawsuit.

Crumbley was also revealed to have allegedly brought bullets to class and put them on display and researched ammunition on his phone only a day before the shooting.

Crumbley allegedly posted on Twitter later on November 29, writing: ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. See you tomorrow Oxford,’ the Detroit Free Press reported Friday. 

A severed deer’s head was also found in the school courtyard only weeks before, on November 4, as well as messages written in red paint found on the pool deck and windows of the property.

Parents also complained to the school that students were receiving threatening messages during this period.

‘I know I’m being redundant here, but there is absolutely no threat at the HS [high school],” the principal, Steven Wolf, stated in the email, which was cited in the lawsuit.

‘Large assumptions were made from a few social media posts, then the assumptions evolved into exaggerated rumors.’

It remains unclear if Ethan Crumbley was the culprit for these incidents.

School district attorney Tim Mullins has since defended the district for the way it handled the incident, describing the claims as ‘untrue’.

Mullins also said he is attempting to dismiss the lawsuit on immunity grounds, according to court documents.

‘My focus is to get this community healed … to get the teachers who love their kids back in the classrooms,’ Mullins told the Free Press.

‘The prosecutor made it very clear, “I don’t want you releasing anything.” ‘I said, “Agreed.” We’ve given (the prosecution) everything we have.’  

Meanwhile, the teenager’s parents, James, 45, and Jennifer Crumbley, 43, were also charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting, because prosecutors allege they gave Ethan the gun as an early Christmas present. They also are accused of breaching their responsibility by refusing to remove him from school two hours before the shooting when counselors confronted them with his distressing drawings of violence.

Prosecutors have said that the couple also ignored numerous warning signs about Ethan, including the teen’s fascination with Nazi propaganda and text messages in 2021 in which he told his mother that he thought ‘there was a demon or a ghost or someone else inside the home.’ 

Oxford High students returned to classes Tuesday at a different building in the district. The high school is expected to reopen January 24.

Source: Daily Mail

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