The teenager who pleaded guilty to killing four students and injuring seven others during a 2021 shooting at a Michigan high school is eligible for a sentence of life without parole, a judge ruled Friday.
Oakland County Circuit Judge Kwame Rowe could still give Ethan Crumbley, 17, a more lenient sentence during a hearing on Dec. 8. Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, will either spend the rest of his life in prison, or a minimum of 25 to 40 years and a maximum of 60 years.
"The court … finds that the prosecution has rebutted the presumption by clear and convincing evidence that a sentence to life without parole is a disproportionate sentence," Rowe said in a Zoom hearing, The Detroit News reported Friday.
Rowe determined the chance of rehabilitation for Crumbley are "slim."
"The defendant continues to be obsessed with violence and could not stop his obsession even while incarcerated at the jail. This obsession with violence is in part what caused defendant to commit the underlying offense. If defendant continues to be obsessed with violence in the jail, how can there be a possibility of rehabilitation?"
Crumbley was a sophomore at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021, when the shooting occurred. He pleaded guilty in October to 24 charges, including terrorism and first-degree murder, in a shooting that drew national attention and raised questions about his parents’ alleged role.
On the day of the shooting, his parents were called to the high school after a teacher saw a drawing their son made depicting a shooting. "Blood everywhere," he wrote. "Help me." But the Crumbleys ignored the advice of a school counselor to take their son home that day, and no one checked the backpack he was carrying, where a 9 mm handgun was stored.
His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, have been in jail since the shootings after each was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, to which they have pleaded not guilty. They are the first parents in the country to face criminal charges in a school shooting, The New York Times reported Friday. The case is pending in the Michigan Supreme Court after the parents’ attorneys appealed a decision to have them stand trial in Oakland County Circuit Court.
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
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