After months of waiting, the trial date for former Ferris ice hockey player Darren Smith has been remanded from Circuit Court back to District Court for a preliminary hearing 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16.
The date for the four-day trial was originally set for Feb. 12 and was then pushed back to April 9 for undisclosed reasons. The trial will no longer begin April 9 as expected.
According to Captain Gary Green of the Ferris Department of Public Safety, Smith originally waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the stipulation that a plea deal would be worked out prior to the start of the trial. However, the prosecution and Smith’s attorneys have not agreed on a plea deal and have decided to go to a preliminary exam to determine if the evidence is sufficient to go to trial, which will be held in district court.
Smith has been formally charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree after being arrested July 12, 2018. The charges involve causing personal injury to a woman who was incapacitated or physically helpless with oral and digital penetration. The victim of all three charges is the same woman and have remained the same since the arraignment, according to Mecosta County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Amy Clapp.
The victim is a Ferris student and is over the age of 16, but her name is being kept anonymous to protect her privacy. With the exception of two weeks in October for allegedly violating the terms of his bond, Smith has been out on bond with a GPS tether. Requirements of his bond include not leaving the state, consuming alcohol or illegal controlled substances or having any contact with the victim, her residence or place of work.
Since Smith’s arraignment, he has been removed from the Ferris ice hockey roster and is no longer a student at Ferris.