Samantha Eubanks bound over to circuit court on 8 of 14 charges
By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A district court judge upheld eight of 14 charges against a Dearborn woman charged in the Sept. 27 shooting of two toddlers in her home daycare facility.
Gene Hunt, 19th District Court judge, bound over Samantha Eubanks to Wayne County Circuit Court on eight counts of child abuse, while dismissing four child abuse and two felony firearm charges. The dismissed child abuse charges were related to Eubanks’ four children who were not in the facility when a toddler shot two 3-year-olds with a loaded handgun kept in the house.
Hunt made the ruling based on a lack of evidence for the six counts. Eubanks’ preliminary examination of the evidence against her was adjourned Jan. 19 and resumed Jan. 23. She originally faced 12 counts of child abuse — six for her own children and six for the other children in her care — and two counts of felony firearm.
“I am struggling with four counts and two felony firearm charges with not enough evidence to sustain the counts regarding the four children who were not home,” Hunt said.
“There was no evidence presented here on when gun was put in the drawer and the purpose of felony firearm statue is to punish people who use guns when they commit underlying felonies. In this case, however, I don’t have any evidence that the gun was accessible and available to Ms. Eubanks when the crimes were committed, so I don’t think there is probable case for the two felony firearm charges. I could certainly be wrong in my analysis of this but this is what I believe after hearing the evidence.”
For the remaining eight counts of child abuse, Hunt said Eubanks knew loaded guns were in the house, but not where they were.
“The children were allowed to go upstairs without supervision without knowing where the guns were and whether they were secured or not,” Hunt said. “There is enough evidence for probable cause that she committed the remaining eight counts of child abuse.”
Eubanks is scheduled to appear in Wayne County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. on Feb. 2.
Samantha’s husband, Timothy Eubanks, also faces six counts of second-degree child abuse for the several loaded firearms within reach of their six children, ages 3 to 15. Each count has a maximum of 10 years in prison, so Samantha and Timothy each could face at least 60 years.
The couple had to surrender their passports, cannot travel outside the state, must have no contact with the victims and their families, cannot posses any weapons and are only allowed supervised visits with their six children.
During his preliminary exam on Jan. 19, Timothy Eubanks waived his right to a preliminary examination. His court proceedings were bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court.
On Jan. 23 Hunt addressed Timothy Eubanks’ recklessness.
“This is probably the most difficult case I have come across so far. It is an absolute tragedy what happened over at that house,” Hunt said. “It is in my opinion, from the information that I have from this case, a reckless act by a husband, Timothy Eubanks, to leave that loaded gun in that drawer which was 30 inches from the ground.”
In Samantha Eubanks’ prelim on Jan. 19, three Dearborn police corporals took the stand and answered questions from the defense and prosecution. Most of the questions were focused on details from inside the Eubanks’ home where the gun was found and also about Samantha Eubanks’ cellphone records.
Dearborn Police Cpl. James Isaacs, who specializes in forensic analysis of cellphones testified regarding Samantha Eubanks’ cellphone usage after examining phone calls and text records.
Isaacs testified that just before 10:30 a.m. Sept. 27, Eubanks made various phone calls including a six-minute phone call from 10:15 a.m. to 10:21 a.m., missed a phone call from Timothy Eubanks and then made and missed more calls before calling 911. The 911 call was made 1 minute 40 seconds after her previous phone call and lasted about six and a half minutes.
Dearborn Cpl. Eric Kushner said he observed the loaded .45-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun on the floor in the upstairs bedroom. A second Smith and Wesson revolver was found in the back of the closet on the main floor along with holsters on the floor and in a portable bassinet.
Kushner also observed Thompson Muzzleloader rifles and a Savage Bolt-Action in the closet near the bedroom.
More details about cell phone records or how the gun was accessed were not revealed, but Kushner said the gun on the main floor could have been moved by other police officers.
The Eubanks own the house in the 3600 block of Harding where their 3-year-old son shot two other 3-year-old boys on Sept. 27.
Police and fire responded to the house at 10:30 a.m. on the report of a shooting where one toddler allegedly shot two other toddlers in the face and shoulder, respectively.
A primary investigation revealed the possibility both boys were injured from a single shot.
Samantha Eubanks was watching six children ages four months to 3 years inside the house, including her own.
The unsecured handguns were in the upstairs bedroom where the Eubanks’ son gained access, police said.
According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the house is not licensed as a home daycare.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])