1 of 2 | A judge ruled in August that it was fair to condemn Ethan Crumbley to a term of life without any chance for parole after he confessed to murdering Tate Myre, 16; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17 at his Michigan high school.
File Photo by Nic Antaya/EPA-EFE
Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A judge on Friday sentenced a Michigan teen to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe handed down the sentence to 17-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 when prosecutors say he killed four classmates in 2021.
He already had pleaded guilty last year and told the judge before Friday's sentencing that he was "a really bad person" and did "terrible things that no one should ever do."
Crumbley spent most of the day in court on Friday listening to impact statements in court Friday before his sentence was announced.
Crumbley was charged with four counts of first-degree premeditated murder and terrorism causing death, for which he faced a minimum sentence of 25 to 40 years in prison for each count after he opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun as a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021, before surrendering to police.
Rowe ruled in August that it was fair to condemn the minor to a term of life without any chance for parole after Crumbley confessed to murdering Tate Myre, 16; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Hana St. Juliana, 14; and Justin Shilling, 17.
Seven others were hurt or wounded in the shooting, including a teacher.
At the time of the previous ruling, Rowe cited evidence against Crumbley that pointed to the teenager's morbid fascination with violence after prosecutors claimed he tortured a baby bird in the years before he took a gun to school and opened fire.
"There is other disturbing evidence, but it is clear to this court that the defendant had an obsession with violence before the shooting," Rowe said at the time, while questioning whether Crumbley was capable of being rehabilitated in prison.
"The evidence does not demonstrate to this court that he wants to change," Rowe added.
Previously, Rowe considered the shooter's mental state at the time of the crime as a major factor in the ruling for an appropriate sentence.
Ethan Crumbley's parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, are facing trial on Jan. 23 after they each pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Nearly a year after the shooting, Ethan Crumbly admitted in court that his parents purchased the weapon for him as an early Christmas present, saying he gave his father cash to help buy the gun that the troubled teen later used to kill his classmates in the middle of the holiday season.
The teen also admitted that the gun was stored in an unlocked safe inside the Crumbley home, giving him free access to it on the day of the shooting.
There were signs of the approaching violence, as one teacher reported Crumbley to administrators after he was seen looking up ammunition on the Internet during class time. However, the parents never responded to calls from school officials despite being aware of the incident involving their son, prosecutors claim.
Jennifer Crumbley allegedly sent a text to her son that said: "lol, I'm not mad at you, you have to learn not to get caught," prosecutors claimed.
Hours before the shooting, another teacher came across a note left behind by Crumbley that featured a crude drawing of a handgun and a bullet, along with the words "The thoughts won't stop, help me" and "Blood everywhere."
Prosecutors said they didn't offer Crumbley any deal in exchange for his guilty plea, which gives the judge broad discretion to incarcerate Crumbley for the rest of his life despite his young age at the time of the crime.
Survivors and relatives of the deceased spent Friday reading victim impact statements aloud in the courtroom before the sentencing.