DETROIT (AP) — A teenager charged with killing four comrades and further injure at a Michigan high school is expected to plead guilty to murder next week, authorities said Friday.
Ethan Crumbley created images of violence during a class assignment last November, but was not sent home from high school in Oxford, southeast Michigan. He pulled out a gun a few hours later and committed a mass shooting.
Authorities have placed some blame on Crumbley’s parents, portraying them as a dysfunctional couple who ignored their son’s mental health needs and happily gave a gun as a gift days before the attack. They also face charges.
Crumbley, 16, is due in court on Monday.
“We can confirm that the shooter is expected to plead guilty to all 24 counts, including terrorism, and the prosecutor has notified the victims,” said David Williams, Oakland County Chief Assistant District Attorney.
A message seeking comment was left for the boy’s lawyers.
Crumbley was 15 when the shooting happened at Oxford High, about 50 kilometers north of Detroit.
His parents had been summoned to school that day to discuss the teenager’s disturbing writings. A teacher had found a drawing with a gun pointed at the words: “Thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” There was a picture of a bullet with the message, “Blood everywhere.”
James and Jennifer Crumbley refused to take Ethan home, but were told to get him on counseling within 48 hours, according to investigators.
A day earlier, a teacher saw Ethan looking for ammunition on his phone. The school contacted his mother, Jennifer Crumbley, who then told her son in a text: “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Ethan Crumbley was charged as an adult with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first degree murder, seven counts of attempted murder and 12 counts of using a firearm. fire.
A first-degree murder conviction usually carries an automatic sentence of life in prison in Michigan. But teenagers have the right to a hearing where their lawyer can plead for a shorter term and the possibility of parole.
Separately, James and Jennifer Crumbley are facing manslaughter charges – a rare case of prosecutors trying to hold parents responsible for a school shooting. They are accused of making a weapon accessible to Ethan and neglecting his need for mental health care.
“Simply put, they created an environment in which their son’s violent tendencies flourished. They knew their son was troubled, and then they bought him a gun,” prosecutors said in a court filing.
The Crumbleys said they were unaware of Ethan’s plan. They also dispute that the weapon was easy to obtain at home.
Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana and Justin Shilling were killed, while six students and a teacher were injured.
Sheriff Mike Bouchard said a guilty plea from Ethan Crumbley would be a relief for families and witnesses.
“At least so that you don’t have to go through the pain of painstakingly viewing every piece of evidence, every piece of video and all the things that would be horrific” in a trial, Bouchard told WDIV-TV.
In court documents, prosecutors revealed portions of Ethan Crumbley’s personal diary. He said his grades were bad and his parents hated each other and had no money.
“It only reinforces my desire to shoot school or do something else,” the teenager wrote.
The three Crumbleys are being held in the Oakland County Jail, though Ethan is being kept away from adults.
Ven Johnson, an attorney who is suing the Oxford School District, said the parents of the shooting victims would withhold any comments until after the hearing.
AP reporter Corey Williams contributed to this story.
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