A teenager accused of killing four students and injuring seven others at a Michigan high school last year pleaded guilty on Monday to murder charges.
Ethan Crumbley has pleaded guilty to 24 counts – including one count of terrorism causing death and four counts of first-degree murder – in the shooting death of the four Oxford High School students on November 30.
Appearing in Oakland County court, the 16-year-old answered “yes” when asked if he killed every victim killed – all identified by name.
Crumbley, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and a medical mask pulled down under his chin, also confirmed that on the day of the mass shooting he retrieved a gun from an unlocked container in his home, took it hidden in his backpack and took it out of his bag in a bathroom before opening fire on his classmates.
The teenager faces life in prison without the possibility of parole on several of the counts. His parents, who have pleaded not guilty to related charges, are due to stand trial in January.
Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed his plea during a hearing in Oakland County Circuit Court.
After Crumbley’s guilty plea on Monday, State Judge Kwame Rowe scheduled a hearing for Feb. 9 and said he would set a sentencing date after that, allowing families of the victims to speak at the hearing. sentencing hearing.
The teenager’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbleywere each charged with four counts of manslaughter related to the shooting after prosecutors accused them of giving their son ready access to a gun and ignoring signs that he was a threat before the shooting.
Prosecutors argued that Jennifer and James Crumbley played “a much bigger role than just buying their son a gun.” They said there were many things the parents could have done besides just locking up the gun, which could have prevented the tragedy.
The parents pleaded not guilty and their attorneys argued in court papers that the charges had no legal basis and that the couple should not be held responsible for the murders their son was accused of committing.
The parents’ trial was originally scheduled to start on Monday but was postponed last month to start in January. Jennifer and James Crumbley are still being held in a county jail.
James Crumbley had bought the gun used in the shooting just four days before the deadly attack, prosecutors said.
At the teen’s arraignment, prosecutors described Ethan Crumbley as “methodically and deliberatelywalking down the halls, pointing a gun at students and shooting point-blank range after exiting the school restroom holding the gun.
Students and teachers relied on tactics they had learned during active fire drills to protect themselves. When the shots rang out, frightened students barricaded doors, turned off lights and called for help. Some of the children armed themselves with scissors in case they need to fight back.
Four students died that day: Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17. Six other students and a teacher were injured.