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Not-guilty plea entered for teen in Michigan school shooting

People embrace as they visit a makeshift memorial outside of Oxford High School on Wednesday in Oxford, Mich.
Scott Olson
/
People embrace as they visit a makeshift memorial outside of Oxford High School on Wednesday in Oxford, Mich.

Judge Kwame Rowe set a status conference for Jan. 19.

A Michigan teenager charged in a mass shooting that left four students dead at his high school made his first appearance in trial court Wednesday.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, was arraigned in Oakland County Circuit Court via video from the jail where he is being held on first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and gun charges. Crumbley is charged as an adult in the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Crumbley’s attorneys had waived his preliminary examination, moving the case toward trial. Through defense attorney Paulette Michel Loftin, Crumbley entered a plea of not guilty. Crumbley said little during the hearing, except to acknowledge that he could hear the judge and confirm that he was OK with the hearing proceeding via Zoom.

Crumbley’s parents are charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting, because prosecutors allege they gave Ethan the gun as an early Christmas present. They also are accused of breaching their responsibility by refusing to remove him from school two hours before the shooting when counselors confronted them with his distressing drawings of violence.

Prosecutors have said that the couple also ignored numerous warning signs about Ethan, including the teen’s fascination with Nazi propaganda and text messages in 2021 in which he told his mother that he thought “there was a demon or a ghost or someone else inside the home.”

Oxford High students returned to classes Tuesday at a different building in the district. The high school is expected to reopen Jan. 24.

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