Ethan Crumbley waives preliminary hearing in Oxford High School shooting, sending case to trial

Ethan Crumbley, the teen accused of committing mass murder at Oxford High School last November waived his right to a preliminary exam on Friday. He was bound over to circuit court for the Nov. 30 shooting. 

In a preliminary hearing, the prosecution presents evidence to show probable cause that a crime was committed AND that there is enough evidence that the suspect in the case is the person who committed the crime. During that hearing, a judge will then decide whether to agree with the prosecution and send the case to trial.

By waiving his right to a preliminary hearing, Ethan Crumbley's case will now head straight to trail in a circuit court.

Crumbley appeared in district court in Rochester Friday morning, where he confirmed he had discussed waiving the preliminary exam with his attorneys. 

The brief appearance in front of court followed a monthlong delay after his original probable cause conference was rescheduled in December.   

When a case is bound over, the case heads straight to trial. The defendant may also plead guilty or no contest.

Ethan Crumbley in court

Both the prosecution and defense consented to the move.

The case will go to circuit court but a trial date has not been set. Crumbley's defense attorney stated that they plan to seek a reduction in bond and a hearing for that will take place in the next two weeks. 

RELATED: Ethan Crumbley charged as adult

The Oxford High School shooting

Ethan Crumbley's alleged rampage began in the early afternoon of Nov. 30, shortly following a meeting between himself, his parents, and a school counselor that had received a report of disturbing drawings made by the teenager.

The suspected firearm that Ethan used in the shooting had been purchased as part of Black Friday sale days before Nov. 30. According to Prosecutor Karen McDonald, the firearm - a semiautomatic 9-millimeter Sig Sauer handgun - James Crumbley had bought the gun on Nov. 26.

A store employee confirmed with the prosecution that Ethan was present at the time of the purchase.

Prior to that purchase, a teacher at Oxford High School had alerted the district that she saw Ethan searching for ammunition on his cell phone. On the day of the shooting, a separate teacher came across a note on Ethan's desk with a drawing of a semi-automatic handgun pointing at the words "the thoughts won't stop, help me."

In another part of the note, the words above a bullet read "blood everywhere."

In the weeks that followed, McDonald would release more evidence of Ethan's drawings. They offer a window into the shooter's mental state at the time. 

MORE: 'Ethan don't do it': Parents of Oxford High School suspect sent messages during shooting

Following the discovery of the drawings, school administrators met with Ethan and his parents. Both declined to take their son home and were encouraged to seek medical treatment for him immediately. 

A few short hours later, Ethan is allegedly walked out of a bathroom and started shooting.

Ethan Crumbley charged

Ethan was charged an adult on Dec. 1. He was arraigned on 24 counts, including first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism, and possession of a firearm.

His attorney entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment. 

MORE: Prosecutor 'doesn't have words' after watching Oxford High School video

While the murder charges track with similar cases of mass shooters, the count alleging terrorism is a novel approach made possible by a law enacted after 9/11.

The state’s 2002 anti-terrorism law defines a terroristic act as one intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to affect the conduct of a government through intimidation or coercion.

McDonald admitted that it wasn't a "typical charge" for the crime. But "what about all the children who ran, screaming, hiding under desks? What about all the children at home right now, who can’t eat and can’t sleep and can’t imagine a world where they could ever step foot back in that school? Those are victims, too, and so are their families and so is the community. The charge of terrorism reflects that."

The Oakland County Sheriff supported the charge "100%."

Ethan was ordered to be held without bond.

He was also assigned his own defense counsel: Paulette Michel Loftin. 

Want to catch up on everything to know about the Crumbley case? Click here for more on Ethan Crumbley and here for James and Jennifer Crumbley.

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