A teenager who fatally shot four classmates two years ago at his high school has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Ethan Crumbley was just 15-years-old when he opened fire on 30 November 2021, with a semi-automatic handgun his father had bought him as a Christmas gift days earlier.
Along with the four classmates he killed, Crumbley wounded six other students and a teacher at the school in Oxford Township, about 40 miles north of Detroit.
His parents have also been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the shooting, in one of the first US cases that seeks to hold parents accountable for their child’s school shooting.
Crumbley pleaded guilty last year to two dozen counts, including one count of terrorism causing death and four counts of first-degree murder.
A judge rejected pleas for a shorter sentence and ensured that Crumbley, now 17, will not get an opportunity for parole.
“My actions were what I chose to do. I could not stop myself… I am a really bad person. I’ve done terrible things,” Crumbley said before the sentence was announced.
He said he was sorry and pledged to change while behind bars.
Life sentences for teenagers are rare in Michigan since the US Supreme Court and the state’s highest court said the violent acts of minors must be viewed differently than the crimes of adults.
At a hearing in Oakland County Circuit Court on Friday, relatives of the victims described their daily struggles to move past the shooting and urged Judge Kwame Rowe to lock Crumbley up for the rest of his life.
“We are miserable. We miss Tate,” said Buck Myre, the father of Tate Myre. “Our family has a permanent hole in it that can never be fixed – ever.”
Nicole Beausoleil recalled seeing the body of her daughter, Madisyn Baldwin, at the medical examiner’s office, her hand with blue-painted fingernails sticking out from a covering.
“I looked though the glass. My scream should have shattered it,” Ms Beausoleil said.
Jill Soave, the mother of Justin Shilling, told the gunman that he executed a boy who could have helped him navigate awkward teenage years.
“If you were that lonely, that miserable and lost, and you really needed a friend, Justin would have been your friend – if only you had asked,” Ms Soave said.
Crumbley looked down as Ms Soave and others spoke.
Like their son, Jennifer and James Crumbley are locked up in the county jail.
They are awaiting trial on involuntary manslaughter charges, accused of making a gun accessible at home and neglecting the gunman’s mental health.
Crumbley and his parents met school staff on the day of the shooting after a teacher noticed violent drawings.
But no one checked his backpack for a gun and he was allowed to stay.