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Judge keeps Ethan Crumbley in jail, sets trial date


Pontiac — Accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley appeared briefly before a judge Thursday for a pretrial placement hearing but his situation will not change.

Crumbley, 15, has been in the county jail since he was charged after the Nov. 30 mass shooting at the school that killed four students and wounded six others and a teacher.

Crumbley’s attorneys plan an insanity defense for their young client, who faces up to life in prison if convicted as charged. He remains in isolation in the Oakland County Jail, separated from adult prisoners. He appeared for Thursday's hearing from the jail via video.

Attorneys want Crumbley transferred to the county’s Children's Village youth facility because of his age. Judge Kwame Rowe said Thursday he saw no reason to relocate Crumbley and ordered him to remain held in the jail.

Rowe also set a tentative trial date for Sept. 6 but noted that could change. Crumbley's next monthly pretrial review, as required by law, is set for May 19 at 9 a.m.

The county prosecutor’s office and officials at the youth facility told Rowe last month that the youth facility is not appropriate for Crumbley – either for his safety or that of other juveniles — and he should remain in the county jail.

Crumbley’s parents are also in the county jail and were back in court earlier this week in an effort to have their bond reduced from $500,000 to $100,000.

Judge Cheryl Matthews denied the request, agreeing with Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald's contention that their previous actions indicate they are a flight risk.

The pair did not surrender to authorities when they were charged and did not return calls to their attorneys. Police found them at a friend’s Detroit apartment. They were found to have made significant withdrawals from bank accounts and had multiple burner cellphones and credit cards.

Both are charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors said, because they purchased a handgun for their son, took him to a firing range to practice and failed to safely store the weapon away from him. He is believed to have used the weapon in the Nov. 30 incident.

McDonald said the couple ignored several warning signs regarding their son, including pleas for mental health help and disturbing drawings on his homework. School officials suggested the teen be taken out of school and into mental health counseling on the day of the shootings. But the couple refused and the school officials allowed him to remain in the building.

Each parent faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

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