Prosecutors said they’ll seek a life sentence with no chance for parole for a 16-year-old boy who killed four fellow students at a Michigan school and pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism.
They disclosed their plans in a court filing Monday, three weeks after Ethan Crumbley, 16, withdrew a possible insanity defense and acknowledged the shooting at Oxford High School in November 2021.
A first-degree murder conviction typically brings an automatic life prison sentence in Michigan. But teenagers are entitled to a hearing where their lawyer can raise mental health and other issues and argue for a shorter term.
Crumbley pleaded guilty to all 24 charges. The sentencing process is scheduled to start in February.
“A sentence of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole is appropriate in this case,” Oakland County assistant prosecutor Marc Keast said.
Messages seeking comment were sent to Crumbley’s attorneys.
The boy was 15 at the time of the shootings at Oxford High, roughly 30 miles north of Detroit. Four students were killed, and six more students and a teacher were injured.
His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are jailed on charges of involuntary manslaughter. They’re accused of making the gun accessible to their son and ignoring his need for mental health treatment.
When he pleaded guilty, Ethan Crumbley said his father bought the gun for him with the teen’s own money just a few days before the shooting. The boy said the gun was not locked in a container or safe at home.
Ethan Crumbley had brought the 9mm Sig Sauer handgun and 50 rounds of ammunition to school in his backpack. Earlier that day, a teacher had discovered a drawing with a gun pointing at the words: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” There was an image of a bullet with the message: “Blood everywhere.”
The Crumbleys declined to take their son home but were told to get him into counseling within 48 hours, according to investigators. Ethan Crumbley later went into a school bathroom, pulled out the weapon and began shooting.