John Skelton asked for a court-appointed attorney saying he only had $20. The 39-year-old father accused of kidnapping his three missing sons appeared in a Michigan court, Wednesday, for the first time to hear the charges against him.

Skelton was arraigned Tuesday in Lenawee County District Court, 20 miles north of Morenci, a small town near the Michigan-Ohio border where the boys were last seen on Thanksgiving

Reporting from the courthouse, WWJ’s Marie Osborne said Skelton answered “yes sir” and “no sir” when addressing Judge James Sheridan Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Sheridan appointed a lawyer for Skelton and set Dec. 28 for a hearing to determine if there’s probable cause to order a trial.

The unemployed truck driver is charged with parental kidnapping in the disappearance of 9-year-old Andrew, 7-year-old Alexander and 5-year-old Tanner Skelton. Police say Skelton made up a story about giving the boys to a female acquaintance.

The boys haven’t been seen since Thanksgiving, but their mother says she believes her estranged husband’s claims that they are alive and safe — although he won’t say where.

Morenci Police have said they “don’t expect a positive outcome” in the case, as tireless searches last week turned up nothing.

Skelton appeared in court by video from jail, where he remains on a $30 million bond.


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