SOUTH LYON, Mich. - A student at South Lyon High School was in court Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing in connection with threats made against the school on social media and was bound over for trial.
Ryan Robert Debruyne, 18, of Green Oak Township, was charged with making a false report or threat of terrorism.
According to police, Debruyne sent a friend messages on Snapchat asking if he wanted to re-enact the shooting that occurred in Florida. The friend told Debruyne “no” and informed the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office about the threat.
Authorities went to Debruyne’s home Feb. 17 and his parents allowed officers inside the home. Officers interviewed the suspect and he allegedly admitted to sending the message. No firearms were found in his possession.
Preliminary hearing gets underway
The prosecution listed 18 possible witnesses that would need to be sequestered.
The first witness to take the stand was a minor and was not identified on camera.
Fisher Wilkes was the second witness to take the stand and told the court about the direct message on he received on Snapchat from Debruyne.
He testified that the message read “Do you want to recreate the Florida shooting on Wednesday?”
Wilkes said he was concerned due to Debruyne’s mental health. He brought the threat to the attention of Oakland County sheriff's deputies.
The defense attorney asked questions to devalue the threat as a poor joke.
Sgt. Doug Baaki with the South Lyon Police Department was called to the stand to discuss the threat investigation.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office brought the threat to Baaki’s attention and officers went to Debruyne’s home.
“I had him sit down in the front room with his mother present and asked him if he did indeed make some type of threat towards the high school,” Baaki said. “At first he was a little reluctant to talk about, but he indicate to me that he made some type of threat.”
The defense asked about the nature of the initial interview with Debruyne.
The prosecution rested.
The defense called Det. Tracy Brooks to the stand to discuss when Debruyne was taken into custody.
The defense asked questions as to when the investigation began, when the threat was supposed to take place and when Debruyne was charged.
"Throughout the information I gathered on Monday and Tuesday, up until presenting it to the prosecutor's office and obtaining the warrant, the credibility kept growing in my mind," Brooks said. "The seriousness kept growing in my mind."
Defense asked Brooks about the high bond Debruyne received and asked questions about the press release issued by the department.
Debruyne was bound over for trial.
Debruyne's bond lowered
The court heard arguments about Debruyne’s bond. Defense attorneys argued that the high bond was unreasonable and the judge agreed.
Bond was lowered to $100,000, cash or surety, 10 percent. The judge set restrictions for Debruyne if he posts bond. He would have to wear a GPS tether, no contact with potential witnesses and would not be allowed on any school property across the country. He would not have access to cell phones or computers and would only be allowed to attend meetings with counsel, work, medical appointments and to receive counseling. The judge said that if he isn’t in counseling within a week of posting bond then the bond would be revoked.
Any weapons that were in the home were already turned over to police.
Student arraigned, probably cause hearing held
Debruyne was arraigned on charges Feb. 20 and his bond was set at $10 million cash.
The defense asked the judge to address the high bond at a probable cause conference. The judge said he wouldn’t make a decision at that hearing and that a motion would have to be in writing so the people have an opportunity to respond.
The defense said they were ready to file a motion and that enough information has been made available to the court to make a decision. The attorney said the police investigation was nearly complete and that Debruyne was evaluated by a psychiatrist at the University of Michigan.
Police said the department will continue to work closely with school administrators and will perform frequent safety checks of the schools on a daily basis.
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