DETROIT — Six weeks after the massacre at Oxford High School, shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley pleaded not guilty Wednesday to killing four students in a rampage that devastated an entire community.

The plea was entered through his lawyer, who said Crumbley would stand mute to the charges and requested a not guilty plea be entered on Crumbley’s behalf. Standing mute has the same effect as pleading not guilty.

Crumbley, who is being charged as an adult and remains locked up with no bond, made a brief video appearance in Oakland County Circuit Court, where a judge scheduled a status conference for Jan. 19. The arraignment was held via Zoom, with the 15-year-old suspect looking on from the Oakland County jail where he is being held.

The defense had previously asked a lower court judge to transfer the teenager to a youth detention center, though the judge denied the request. Crumbley’s lawyers have cited a federal statute that says juveniles held in adult jails – even those charged as adults – cannot be within “sight” or “sound” of adults. That’s not possible at the Oakland County jail, they argue.

That same statute also requires that a juvenile’s incarceration be re-evaluated every 30 days, so the argument for removing Ethan Crumbley to a youth detention center will likely come up again.

Wednesday’s arraignment comes after new details emerged in a lawsuit about Crumbley’s actions in the weeks before the Nov. 30 shooting. The lawsuit seeks to hold the school responsible for the massacre, alleging many missteps were made by multiple school officials who allegedly ignored numerous red flags that Ethan Crumbley was spiraling out of control.


Among those red flags:

Three weeks before the massacre, the teenager allegedly brought a bird’s head to school in a mason jar filled with yellow liquid and left it on top of a toilet paper dispenser in the boy’s bathroom, according to the lawsuit. School officials knew the sophomore had done this, the lawsuit states, but told students and parents there was nothing to worry about.

School officials also knew the teenager showed up with bullets to class on the day before the shooting, the lawsuit alleges — this in addition to researching ammunition on his cellphone that same day. School officials also knew about a gun he had drawn, and a tweet he posted on Twitter on the eve of the shooting: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. See you tomorrow Oxford.”

Tim Mullins, an attorney for the Oxford School District, declined to comment on the latest allegations in the lawsuit, citing the ongoing criminal case. But he did say that the lawsuit contains “untrue” claims.

“Right now the priority is that justice be done,” Mullins said. “The prosecutor has asked me not to comment as to details … but there are lots of allegations that will be shown to be untrue.”

Crumbley is facing terrorism and first-degree murder charges for allegedly opening fire in a school hallway on Nov. 30 with a gun that his parents bought him as an early Christmas present just four days prior.


The teen is accused of killing four people – Hana St. Juliana, 14; Tate Myre, 16; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; and Justin Shilling, 17 – and injuring seven others, including a teacher.

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are facing involuntary manslaughter charges for what prosecutors have described as poor parenting choices that they believe contributed to the four students losing their lives. Prosecutors have accused the couple of ignoring a child who they say was troubled and spiraling out of control. And rather than get their son help, prosecutors have said, they bought him a gun and failed to properly secure it.

The Crumbley parents also have pleaded not guilty.

Ethan Crumbley was arrested five minutes after the gunfire started when he reportedly surrendered to Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies who had responded to the shooting. His parents had been called to the school office that morning over what prosecutors have described as troubling behavior: He had drawn a gun on paper in class along with the words: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”

The parents were told to seek counseling for their son or the school would report his behavior to Child Protective Services within 48 hours, but they refused to take their son home, prosecutors have said. The teen was allowed to return to class with his backpack, which was never checked, and which police said they believe contained the weapon used in the deadly attack. Within hours, police said, video evidence from inside the school showed Ethan Crumbley emerging from a bathroom and opening fire with the 9 mm Sig Sauer handgun his parents had bought him.

According to the 15-year-old’s attorney, there’s a “definite possibility” that Crumbley could enter a guilty plea down the road.

“I do think there’s a possibility (of a plea),” the teen’s lawyer, Paulette Michal Loftin, told Fox 2’s Charlie Langton last week. “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.”

James and Jennifer Crumbley also have maintained they are not guilty, saying they had no way of knowing their son would use the gun to shoot up his school, and that they had properly secured the gun.

James and Jennifer Crumbley also are being held at the Oakland County jail, each on a $500,000 bond. The family members, however, are prohibited from communicating with one another.

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