No plea entered during arraignment for Campbell Hall shooting suspect


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James Eric Davis Jr., the 19-year-old suspected of killing his parents on March 2 in Campbell Hall, did not enter a plea during his arraignment March 6 in Isabella County Trial Court.

His bond was also lowered from $3 million to $1.25 million.

Davis appeared in court March 6 over video, since he was still being held at McLaren Central Michigan hospital for medical treatment at the time. He is suspected of shooting and killing his parents, James Eric Davis Sr. and Diva Davis, at about 8:30 a.m. March 2 on the fourth floor of Campbell Hall. 

Judge Paul H. Chamberlain began the arraignment by explaining the purpose of it to Davis. He said the arraignment was "to let Davis know that he has been charged with criminal offenses, read his preliminary rights, set bond and a date for further proceedings."

Chamberlain read Davis' charges to him — two counts of homicide-open murder and one count of possession of a firearm to commit a murder.

The court appointed Josh Blanchard, criminal defense attorney, to represent Davis. Chamberlain asked Davis if he could afford to hire his own attorney, to which Davis responded no. Chamberlain then asked Davis if he would like Blanchard to continue representing him — Davis again said no. 

When Chamberlain asked Davis if he would like to proceed with no counsel, he said no, and then said "I mean yes."

After Davis' "mixed response," Chamberlain said Blanchard should continue his representation for the arraignment. 

Chamberlain told Davis he has the right to a probable cause conference to take place between seven and 14 days starting March 7 and a preliminary examination to take place between five and seven days after the day of the probable cause conference.

Davis' probable cause conference is March 16. His preliminary examination is March 27.

Blanchard asked for the time period of the probable cause conference to be extended due to Davis being in the hospital. He asked for the 14-day period to be waived and to set the date of the probable cause conference outside of that. 

Davis agreed with this, saying he wanted a later hearing.

Chamberlain accepted the waiver and told counsel to meet with the court assignment clerk to set a date for those hearings. 

To ensure Davis was waiving his hearing times under his own free will, Chamberlain asked Davis if anyone threatened or coerced him to waive the hearings. Davis responded with "no." 

Chamberlain also asked if Davis was currently under the influence of any alcohol or drugs — prescribed or other. Davis said he was not. 

Mark Kowalczyk, principal trial attorney who is acting as the prosecutor in the case, brought up Davis' current bond that has been set at $3 million, which he said should be set to cash only. 

Blanchard responded to that and said the bond was "excessive". Chamberlain then changed Davis' bond to be set at $1.25 million.

After a 15-hour manhunt involving more than 100 officers from various police agencies, Davis was taken into custody at about 12:15 a.m. on March 3, following a tip from an employee on a train passing through Mount Pleasant. 

Davis was taken to the hospital to be treated for hypothermia. He was transferred on March 7 to the Isabella County Jail. 

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Editor-in-Chief Emma Dale is a junior from Grand Haven double majoring in journalism and political ...

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