A judge is set to hear the last day of testimony in the Oxford High School shooter’s sentencing

1 August 2023

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan judge is expected to hear the third and final day of testimony Tuesday at a sentencing hearing for the Oxford High School shooter, though an immediate decision is not anticipated.

Ethan Crumbley, 17, pleaded guilty to murder, terrorism and other charges in a mass shooting that killed four students and wounded seven others in 2021 at the school about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Because of his age — 15 at the time — an automatic life sentence would be unconstitutional. Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe first must consider the shooter’s mental health, unstable family life and other factors before deciding whether a life term would fit.

Crumbley otherwise would face a minimum sentence somewhere between 25 years and 40 years in prison, followed by eligibility for parole.

The shooter left behind a journal and text messages that were rife with dark writings, confusion and paranoia. Defense attorneys revealed messages last week that were sent to a friend months before the shooting.

Crumbley said he saw ghosts and was “mentally and physically dying.”

“I asked my dad to take me to the doctor yesterday,” he said. “He gave me some pills and told me to suck it up.”

Prosecutors, meanwhile, said the teen also wrote multiple messages about drowning children and killing animals. On the eve of the shooting, he made a video explaining what he was about to do. The audio was played in court.

His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, are separately charged with involuntary manslaughter. They’re accused of buying a gun for their son and ignoring his mental health needs.

Over objections from the defense, prosecutors called four people who witnessed the shooting, including a school staff member who was wounded. It was the first time their details were personally aired in court.

Assistant Principal Kristy Gibson-Marshall, who had a two-way radio that day, said she told others: “I have eyes on the shooter.”

“It couldn’t be Ethan. He wouldn’t do that,” Gibson-Marshall said, describing her disbelief at the time. “I thought there’s no way it could be him.”

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