Attorneys for Ethan Crumbley have asked for the Michigan school shooting suspect to be moved from an adult jail to a juvenile facility so that he can have access to schooling.
Deborah McKelvy, who became the 15-year-old’s court-appointed guardian on Friday, made the stunning request in court on Monday, saying that the sophomore student should be able to continue his education, while he awaits trial on charges of murdering four fellow students.
“I’m not being humorous when I say this but he could still be at school,” she said. “He is still 15 years old.”
The alleged mass shooter appeared in court in Rochester Hills, Michigan, via Zoom on Monday afternoon for his probable cause hearing.
He was seen wearing glasses, a white face mask and orange prison garb as he spoke only to confirm his name and to confirm that he understood and agreed to waive the statutory time period for the probable cause conference.
The hearing was then adjourned after both the prosecution and the defence agreed to postpone it while the discovery of evidence is ongoing.
Prosecutor Marc Keast said discovery was taking some time because many of the witnesses to be interviewed are children who remain “traumatised” by the mass shooting at Oxford High School on 30 November.
A new hearing date has been set for 7 January.
While both sides agreed to postpone the hearing, they sparred over where the 15-year-old should be held without bond.
Ms McKelvy requested that the teenager be moved from Oakland County Jail to the local juvenile facility Oakland County Children’s Village, claiming it would be in his “best interests”.
She said that after meeting with the suspected murderer on Friday afternoon she had “concerns for his mental and emotional wellbeing” at the adult facility.
She argued that, as a 15-year-old, he is a juvenile and the “jail is not conducive and is not designed for a juvenile”.
“For his age and mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, housing him at The Village would serve him more than where he is,” she said.
Inmates at the juvenile facility receive an on-campus education in core subjects in collaboration with the Waterford School District.
Ms McKelvy said the suspect can also hear the sounds of adult inmates from nearby cells in the jail, adding that “he is not supposed to”.
However, Mr Keast argued that Ethan should remain in Oakland County Jail because his alleged crime shows he poses a danger to other juveniles.
“This was a mass murder in a school,” he said.
“The defendant didn’t just attack other individuals, he targeted other juveniles,” he said, adding that evidence also showed the suspect had planned the attack in advance.
Judge Nancy Carniak sided with the prosecution and ruled that the teenager should remain in the adult jail, where his parents James and Jennifer Crumbley are also being held.
However, she said that the issue of him being able to hear other inmates needed to be addressed.
The 15-year-old is charged as an adult with 24 counts including one count of terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder after four of his fellow students – Tate Myre, 16, Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17 – died in the attack.
One teacher and six other students were also wounded during what was the worst school shooting in America since 2018.
Ethan has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and faces life in prison if convicted.
His parents have also been charged – with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter – after prosecutors learned that they bought their son the gun as an early Christmas present.
They have also pleaded not guilty and face up to 60 years in prison if convicted.
The Crumbleys will appear in court at 1.15pm on Tuesday.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in