An Update on Ethan Crumbley
Ethan Crumbley, the 16-year-old charged with murder in a deadly shooting at a Michigan high school, is expected to plead guilty Monday and face life in prison without parole. The Oakland County Prosecutors Office said Friday that Crumbley is scheduled to appear in court on Monday and will enter a guilty plea.
In October, prosecutors filed charges against the teen that included four counts of first-degree murder and one count of terrorism causing death. He also was accused of seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
The prosecutors’ filings alleged that the Crumbleys created a home environment that was conducive to violent tendencies and ignored warning signs they should have known about their son’s deteriorating mental health. They failed to follow school rules to get their son into counseling as soon as possible, according to the filings. They also allegedly bought their son a gun, which is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to own, and did not secure it in a locked cabinet.
“The parents created a situation where the teen was able to easily access a weapon,” prosecutors said in the filings, which detailed their role in the killing of four students at Oxford High School. The Crumbleys also reportedly told investigators that they were not aware that their son had a plan to shoot his classmates at the school, CNN reported.
Lawyers for the Crumbleys have argued that there is no way to prove that their son was insane at the time of the shooting, which occurred on November 30, 2018. That would be an uphill battle, according to experts who say it’s exceedingly rare for Michigan defendants to be found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.
On Monday, prosecutors urged the judge to sentence Crumbley to life in prison for all 24 of the charges against him. He pleaded guilty to all of them.
Attorney Paulette Loftin told reporters that she believes the plea is a result of “remorse” and that her client is “taking responsibility for his actions.” However, she said it’s unclear whether he is a good candidate for parole.
A court hearing on Thursday confirmed that Crumbley has been placed at the Oakland County Jail while he awaits sentencing for many of his charges. It was a brief hearing, less than five minutes long.
During the hearing, Oakland County Justice of the Peace David Rowe heard from Assistant Prosecutor Marc Keast and other attorneys on the case. He ruled that Crumbley’s placement in the jail was appropriate and that he will be allowed to stay there as a condition of his release on multiple charges.
After the hearing, Crumbley’s lawyers announced they were planning to file a motion for a sentencing hearing. They hope the hearing will be held in February.
In the meantime, Crumbley’s legal team is arguing that he should be given an insanity defense. This would be a major change in the case, and it could make him eligible for probation or some form of community control, says Detroit lawyer Bill Swor.