Oxford High School Shooter to Plead Guilty to Terrorism and Murder in Michigan School Shooting

You are currently viewing Oxford High School Shooter to Plead Guilty to Terrorism and Murder in Michigan School Shooting

New York Times | October 21, 2022 | Stephanie Saul

The student accused of waging a deadly attack last year in a Michigan high school, killing four students and injuring seven other people, is expected to plead guilty on Monday to a number of felony charges, including murder and terrorism, the prosecutor in the case said on Friday.

Ethan Crumbley, now 16, is accused of using a 9-millimeter handgun that was purchased for him as an early Christmas present by his parents, who face involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with the Nov. 30 rampage at Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich.

The case is unusual in several ways. If Mr. Crumbley pleads guilty on Monday as expected, he would be the first suspect in a U.S. school shooting to be found guilty of terrorism.

In interviews, Karen D. McDonald, the Oakland County prosecutor, has said that she brought the unusual terrorism charge to address the damage caused to those who were not killed or injured.

The prosecution of the suspect’s parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, is also a rare instance in which parents stand accused of acts that led to a school shooting. In addition to helping him obtain a gun, prosecutors say that the parents ignored troubling warning signs, including a disturbing drawing he made containing violent images and a plea for help just hours before the shooting. The parents have pleaded not guilty.

In a statement on Friday, David Williams, the chief assistant prosecutor for Oakland County, confirmed that Ethan Crumbley was expected to plead guilty to all 24 charges against him. He faces possible life in prison.

Michigan does not have a death penalty, and imprisoning a juvenile for life is unusual.

But Mr. Williams said that there had been no plea bargaining with Mr. Crumbley.

“There are no deals whatsoever. No reductions, no sentence agreements, nothing,” he said in a statement released by his office.

Lawyers for Mr. Crumbley could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Ven Johnson, a lawyer representing several Oxford High School families, including the survivors of two deceased students, said the families would not be commenting until Monday.

Mr. Johnson represents the parents of Tate Myre, 16, and Justin Shilling, 17. The two other students who died in the shooting were Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Hana St. Juliana, 14.

Seven other people, including six students and a teacher, were also physically injured in the massacre.

Mr. Johnson said his clients included the families of some of those other students who were traumatized by the events of that day.

The trial for James and Jennifer Crumbley — whose lawyers have said that they want Ethan to testify on behalf of his parents — had been scheduled for this month, but it has been postponed.

In December, the parents were the subject of an intense manhunt after they failed to turn themselves in. They were taken into custody in a commercial building in Detroit, where the police said they appeared to be hiding.

In preliminary hearings in their case, a guidance counselor testified that he had called the couple to school the morning of the shooting and urged them to seek counseling for their son, who had been discovered in class with drawings of a gun, a bloody figure and the words, “help me” and “my life is useless.”

The Crumbleys declined to take Ethan home that day. Later in the afternoon, he took out his gun from his backpack.


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