Ethan Crumbley, the 15-year-old charged with shooting and killing four students at Oxford High School and injuring seven others, could enter a guilty plea, according to his attorney who spoke with FOX 2's Charlie Langton on WWJ Friday morning.
Langton, who reports for both FOX 2 and WWJ, spoke with Crumbley's attorney Paulette Michel Loftin just moments after Crumbley waived his preliminary hearing in the Oxford High School shooting. She said that there is a possibility that Crumbley could enter a guilty plea in the mass shooting but that is dependent on conversations with the Oakland County Prosecutor.
"I do think there's a possibility (of a plea). It is too early. We haven't reviewed all of the discovery yet; there is still some forthcoming. I think it's too early to jump to that phase, but that is a definite possibility." Loftin said that there have not been any discussions regarding anything less serious than first degree murder.
"Obviously we would be hopeful of that, if that's the avenue we decide to take. We've not had any conversations whatsoever, so I'm not sure," she said.
During the interview, Loftin explained that they decided to waive the preliminary exam because of the amount of evidence that the prosecution has presented in discovery.
"The burden at a preliminary exam is extremely low (and) based on all of the evidence that we've received it's clear that there was not a reason to have the exam (and) that it would have been bound over if, in fact, we did have it," Loftin said.
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.
Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley
Loftin said that a hearing regarding Crumbley's competency is not being considered at this point.
"I've talked with him about ten times now (and) never had a situation where I felt that he wasn't understanding me. The guardian is of the same opinion. Competency is not an issue, at this very second. Obviously we may address that in the future or may address criminal responsibility, which is another aspect of competency," Loftin said.
Crumbley is charged as an adult with one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm while committing a felony in connection with the school shooting that killed four students and injured seven other people, including a teacher.
After his arrest, he was ordered held without bond. Typically, in a first degree murder case, bond is not evaluated. However, bond was discussed during Friday's hearing and Loftin explains it's because of Crumbley's age and his placement in the adult facility.
"There was a new statute that was enacted on December 21, it addresses juveniles that are housed in adult jails. It requires the court to make a finding every 30 days after a hearing on if it is still appropriate to house a juvenile at the adult facility. We have to have that hearing before January 21 since, as is stated, the statute was enacted December 21. We plan to have that up at the circuit court," Loftin said.
Crumbley's parents, James and Jennifer, are due in court Friday afternoon as well for a bond reduction hearing.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter days after their son was arrested for allegedly shooting several people at Oxford High School on Nov. 30. Four students died in the shooting and 7 others were seriously hurt.
Loftin said that Ethan has not spoken with his parents as rules prevent communication between the three of them, but he is aware that they are in custody and being held in the same facility.
""They are all inmates of the Oakland County Jail and there are strict rules about that. So no, he has not had any conversation with his parents," Loftin said. "So I can't tell you exactly what he's telling me or asking me but yes, I did make him aware of what's going on in his parents' case, so he is cognizant and he knows that they are there in the same facility, just housed in a different area."
You can listen to the complete interview, which happened just after Crumbley waived his next hearing, on WWJ's player below or on their website.