Accused Oxford High School shooter pleads guilty

Ethan Crumbley also claimed that not only did his parents buy the gun used in the crime for him, but that he gave them the money to purchase it.

Ethan Crumbley

Ethan Crumbley attends a hearing at Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, Mich., on Feb. 22, 2022.

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.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald in December 2021. Photo credit: Oakland County.

Prosecutor responds

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.

Families respond

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.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Alex McLenon
    Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.
  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.
  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.