Oxford shooting suspect faces life in prison

December 2, 2021
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald announces charges against 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, charging him as an adult on Dec. 1, 2021 from her office related to a mass shooting incident that took place at Oxford High School on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.
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DETROIT — A Michigan prosecutor on Wednesday charged the 15-year-old the suspect in Tuesday’s rampage at Oxford High School, which left four students dead, with first-degree murder, terrorism and other charges.

If convicted, Ethan Crumbley could face a possible life sentence.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald charged Crumbley as an adult and said she may pursue charges against his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley. 

Crumbley, a sophomore at Oxford, is accused of killing four people — Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17 — and injuring seven others Tuesday.

Crumbley was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in district court and joined via video from a juvenile detention center. 

The suspect was silent and District Court Judge Nancy Carniak entered a plea of not guilty to all charges on his behalf. He was denied bond and ordered held at the county jail.

What we know:Oxford High shooting suspect charged with terrorism; Detroit area schools closed due to threats

What are the charges the suspect faces?

McDonald charged Crumbley with:

  • One count of terrorism causing death
  • Four counts of first-degree murder
  • Seven counts of assault with intent to murder
  • 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony

Investigators have said they believe Crumbley’s actions were not impulsive, contributing to McDonald’s decision to charge the teen as an adult, she said. Further, under Michigan law, some crimes are so severe that they require the suspect to be automatically treated as an adult — foremost, first-degree murder.

“Charging this person as an adult is necessary to achieve justice and protect the public,” McDonald said Wednesday before Crumbley was arraigned. “I’m committed to seeking justice for the victims of the Oxford High School shooting and all Oakland County kids who face violence.”

‘Open the door’:Chilling video shows Michigan students escape through window during Oxford shooting

Can the suspect be sentenced to life in prison without parole?

A first-degree murder conviction in Michigan typically results in an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. However, a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling declared mandatory life without parole for juvenile homicide offenders unconstitutional.

Judges in Michigan can still decide to send juvenile convicts to prison for life without the possibility of parole, but not as an automatic result of a murder conviction.

The terrorism charge, McDonald said, is in relation to the horrors inflicted upon the rest of the school’s community who weren’t direct victims but still faced trauma. 

“What about all the children who ran screaming, hiding under desks? What about all the children at home who can’t eat and can’t sleep and can’t imagine a world where they could ever step foot back in that school?” McDonald said.

‘Intent to kill’:A visual timeline of deadly shooting at Oxford High School

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