The teen accused of going on a murderous rampage at Oxford High School last November has pleaded guilty to all charges against him. Ethan Crumbley shot 11 people with a handgun, killing four of them.
That’s despite his defense initially filing a notice of insanity. Evidence in the involuntary manslaughter case against Crumbley’s parents show the then 15-year-old attempted to ask for help with his mental health in the months leading up to the shooting.
“We felt it appropriate to withdraw (the insanity notice) and have him plead guilty.” — Paulette Michel Loftin, attorney
Paulette Michel Loftin is Ethan Crumbley’s attorney. She says her team explored the insanity argument.
“Based on the conversations that we’ve had and the review of the discovery,” says Loftin, “we felt it appropriate to withdraw that and have him plead guilty.”
Loftin says the next step for Crumbley is what’s known as a “Miller hearing,” where both sides present evidence prior to sentencing.
At a news conference after Crumbley’s plea hearing, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald says the 16-year-old was not offered a deal.
“I want to be very clear,” says McDonald, “there were no plea negotiations, no plea offers, no reductions and no sentencing agreements.”
McDonald says she cannot comment on the case against his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, but did highlight the revelation that Ethan Crumbley gave his father the money to buy the gun used in the crime.
She strongly suggests some of the teen’s statements in court would be used in his parent’s trial, which is now expected to start next year.
“He did say in his own words that his father bought the gun with his money that he gave to his father and that it was not locked,” says McDonald.
It was an emotional day in court for families of the victims. For Meghan Gregory, it was her first time seeing the teenage gunman in person since he held her son hostage in a school bathroom for six minutes.
“I tried to look at him as a kid that needs help,” says Gregory, “but the closer that I’ve gotten to this — I just struggle right now to forgive anyone that murdered someone else.”
“I hope that someday he does feel that remorse. I still saw evil.” — Meghan Gregory, parent
Among the 24 charges Ethan Crumbley pleaded guilty to is one count of terrorism — admitting that he wanted to create mass fear in the community. While Gregory’s son survived, she says he’s one of more than a thousand Oxford students who have spent the last year dealing with the mental health impact of the shooting.
Gregory says while she wants the teenage gunman to serve life without parole, she does hope he gets the help he needs while behind bars.
“For instance, medication or mental health when he didn’t have that at home,” says Gregory. “So I hope that someday he does feel that remorse. I still saw evil.”
This story is developing. Last updated: Oct. 24 at 3:36 p.m.