School shooter Ethan Crumbley eligible for life without parole

Posted at 10:28 AM, September 29, 2023

PONTIAC, Mich. (Scripps News Detroit) — Judge Kwame Rowe ruled on Friday morning that the Oxford school shooter is eligible to serve life in prison without parole. His sentencing is scheduled for December 8.

Ethan Crumbley appears in court

Ethan Crumbley appears in Oakland County Court, on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, in Pontiac, Mich. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press via AP, Pool)

In today’s hearing, Judge Rowe cited Ethan Crumbley’s maturity at the age of 15, when he committed the crime, saying he thought in-depth about his future and how he fit into the world. The judge noted Crumbley conducted significant research for criminal penalties, specifically searching “what is a life sentence for a 15-year-old,” and that there was no doubt that this was a premeditated crime.

Judge Rowe also discussed his age and home and family environment being mitigating factors in the case.

The Miller hearing, which spanned multiple days during the summer, was to help determine whether the shooter can spend life in prison without parole for admitting to killing four and wounding others in November of 2021 at Oxford High School.

Inside court in August on the last day of the hearing, families of victims broke down several times during final witness testimony, and, after closing arguments, more emotions came out.

“We don’t have any closure or answers for that day,” said parent Buck Myre in August. “These are kids, four kids that were murdered, seven shot, hundreds terrorized.”

photos of students in a memorial

Photographs of four students —Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16 and Justin Shilling, 17 — sit among boquets of flowers, teddy bears and other personal items left at the memorial site on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021 outside Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., after a 15-year-old allegedly killed these four classmates, and injured seven others in a shooting inside the northern Oakland County school one week earlier. (Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP)

Reflecting on the deaths of Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, and Justin Shilling, prosecution witness Dr. Lisa Anacker, a trained forensic psychiatrist, said the defendant is not mentally ill based on evidence and interviews about the premeditated attack which he planned to survive.

“What we don’t see is any signs of bizarre behavior, disorganized speech, responding to internal stimuli. I can understand how it’s difficult to imagine how a sane person can commit mass murder, but research shows mental illness doesn’t account for most of the violence in our country,” said Dr. Anacker.

However, the defense focused on what they call evidence to the contrary.

“His brain was on fire. The journal, texts, searches, bird videos, ramblings are all indicative of mental illness. With proper intervention from school staff, counselors, and parents, this could have been stopped,” said defense attorney Paulette Loftin.

The sentencing for the defendant is set for December 8 in person.


This story was originally published by Scripps News Detroit, an E.W. Scripps Company.