PONTIAC, Mich. (FOX 2) - Accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley was in court on Monday for his first appearance in court since he was arraigned on four murder charges and terrorism for the Nov. 30 shooting, but the hearing was delayed three weeks as both sides work through mountains of evidence and interviews.
Ethan Crumbley appeared in Oakland County for his probable cause but it was a brief hearing as both the prosecution and defense stated they were still working through evidence and interviews and asked for an adjournment on the case.
Monday's virtual hearing started just after 1:15 p.m. and, as expected, Crumbley's attorney, Paulette Michel Loftin, requested an adjournment for the hearing as it had not yet received all evidence.
During the hearing, assistant prosecutor Marc Keast stated that the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office had turned over more than 500 items of discovery to the defense but also received a flash drive from the sheriff containing 340 more videos and interviews on Monday alone.
Discovery is the evidence and information that the prosecution has gathered in the case and is obligated to turn over to the defense. Both attorneys must have access to the same material before probable cause and preliminary hearings can move forward in court.
"By the nature of the case and the scope of the investigation, this is going to take some time," Keast said.
Loftin requested the hearing to be delayed until after the start of the new year. The judge then set the new hearing for Monday, Jan. 7
Probable cause hearings are held before the preliminary hearing, which is the hearing that will determine if there is enough evidence for the case to move forward with trial.
Crumbley was ordered held without bond when he was charged as an adult on Dec. 2. That will not change during Monday's hearing as he is facing first-degree murder charges.
Crumbley was assigned a guardian ad litem. This is an attorney who is independent of his legal interests and only focuses on Crumbley. Deborah McKelvy was assigned this ad litem position and asked for Crumbley to be removed from the Oakland County Jail and returned to Children's Village in Pontiac.
Loftin agreed, saying that the state law requires that minors held in adult jails are not to be near adults or be able to hear the adult population.
Keast argued that Children's Village was not secure enough to keep Crumbley in custody.
"I cannot imagine a situation where we could put this defendant in this environment after what he did on Nov. 30," Keast said.
Judge Nancy Carniak said that the placement is appropriate for Crumbley and must be confined to meet the statutory guidelines while in the facility.
Keast said he would speak with the jail and ensure Crumbley is not within sight or sound of the adult population.
Crumbley, who is charged with murder and terrorism, has been locked up in Oakland County jail since his arrest Nov. 30. It's possible that the case could be put on hold if his attorney seeks a mental competency exam.
FOX 2's Charlie Langton says this is not unusual for cases to be delayed, especially on as big as Crumbley's.
Ethan Robert Crumbley
Crumbley was ordered held without bond when he was arraigned on Dec. 2 and that will not change during Monday's hearing as he is facing first-degree murder charges.
One final thing that could be addressed in court on Monday is whether Crumbley will be assigned a guardian ad litem. This is an attorney who is independent of his legal interests and only focuses on Crumbley.
This attorney, if assigned, would look after the interest of the 15-year-old who is charged as an adult. Because his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are also charged with felonies and cannot support their son, a guardian could be assigned to him. This guardian will help him make decisions as he goes through the process.
The Crumbley parents are being held at the same jail as their son, but in separate cells. They've each been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and are expected to be in court for a hearing on Tuesday.