A 16-year-old boy who killed four fellow students at a Michigan school and pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism charges should be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.
Ethan Crumbley, 16, revealed his plans in court on Monday (local time), three weeks after admitting to the November 2021 shooting at Oxford High School.
A first-degree murder conviction usually carries an automatic non-parole sentence in Michigan. But teenagers are entitled to a hearing where their attorney can raise immaturity, mental health, family life and other issues.
Crumbley pleaded guilty to all 24 charges. It has been decided to start the punishment proceedings in February.
“A sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole is appropriate in this case,” Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Keast wrote.
Separately, the prosecutor’s office said Tuesday that Crumbley had “made no promises, nothing offered” for his guilty plea.
Judge Kwame Rowe will be flexible. Under state law, possible prison sentences for juveniles include parole eligibility after at least 25 years in prison.
Defense attorney Paulette Michael Loftin said she was disappointed but not surprised by the request for a life sentence. She believes Crumbley can be rehabilitated in prison.
“This hearing will give the court and the public a good insight into Crumbley’s difficult home life and the challenges he faces,” Loftin told The Associated Press.
The boy was 15 when the shooting happened at Oxford High, about 50 kilometers north of Detroit. Four students were killed and six students and a teacher were injured.
His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are in prison for involuntary manslaughter. She is accused of giving her son access to guns and neglecting his need for mental health treatment.
When he pleaded guilty, Ethan Crumbley said his father bought him a gun with the teenager’s own money just days before the shooting. The gun was not locked in a container or securely in the house, the boy said.
Ethan Crumbley brought a 9mm Sig Sauer handgun and 50 rounds of ammunition to school in his backpack. Earlier that day, a teacher found a drawing of a gun pointing: “Thoughts never stop, help me.” There was a picture of a bullet with the message “blood everywhere”.
The Crumblis refused to take their son home, but investigators said they wanted him to undergo counseling within 48 hours. Ethan Crumbley then entered a school bathroom, pulled out a weapon and began shooting.
In their criminal case, the parents are asking the judge to grant them access to expert reports on their son’s mental state. They believe the information will favor their defense.
Defense attorneys filed Monday in court that they “argue they have no reason to believe the shooter has mental health issues” that would require treatment. “They admit their son is grieving the loss of his dog, his grandmother and a friend who recently moved away.”