Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley appeals life sentence

4 killed, 7 injured in 2021 shooting

ByDeJanay Booth-Singleton CNNWire logo
Monday, June 10, 2024
Michigan school shooter sentenced to life without parole
Ethan Crumbley was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for killing four of his classmates and wounding others in the 2021 Michigan school shooting.

DETROIT -- A teen gunman who pleaded guilty in a 2021 deadly shooting at Michigan's Oxford High School has filed an appeal of his life sentence, arguing that new evidence questions whether he understood his guilty plea.

In a statement Friday, the Michigan Appellate Defender Office, which is representing 18-year-old Ethan Crumbley, said a motion was filed requesting the trial court review new evidence and grant a resentencing, arguing that the sentence "for a child is unconscionable."

Crumbley pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including murder and terrorism, in the Nov. 30, 2021, shooting at his high school that killed four people and injured seven others.

In December 2023, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Records show he is housed in the Oaks Correctional Facility, an all-male facility.

"Some of that new evidence includes seven witnesses who could have discussed Ethan's childhood struggles and his mother's alcohol abuse during pregnancy; the potential impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder on Ethan's life including the social and emotional maturity of a child younger than their chronological age; and an expert witness to properly present information about Ethan and his childhood rather than one who cut and pasted information from other reports and did not understand the indicia for evaluating a life without parole sentence for a child," the defender's office statement read.

The shooter's parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were each found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in separate trials earlier this year for their roles in the shooting, and were sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison.

During their trials, prosecutors argued that the shooting was preventable, and that James and Jennifer Crumbley ignored their son's mental health needs and bought him the gun that was used in the shooting.

The Crumbleys have since obtained appellate attorneys in their cases, claiming that they were wrongly convicted.

SEE ALSO: Jennifer and James Crumbley, parents of Michigan school shooter, sentenced to 10 to 15 years

The defender office argues that new evidence does not support the life without parole sentencing and is requesting the shooter is given a "constitutional sentence that is appropriate for a 15-year-old child."

The shooter, who turned 18 earlier this year, was 15 at the time of the shooting.

"Due process requires that every person who pleads must understand what they are doing, this is even more true when the person pleading is a child," read a statement from the defender office.

In May, a judge denied the shooter's request to his parents' that their pre-sentence reports be used in his appeal.

The shooter asked a state court for the reports that were used in his parents' trials, arguing that his family and home environment are relevant to his appeal.

The sentencing court was required to consider his family background, including his home environment, because he was a minor at the time of the shooting. In response, prosecutors did not take a position on the matter, and noted the parents' pre-sentence reports were not created until months after the shooter was sentenced.

An attorney for Jennifer Crumbley wrote in a court filing that the documents are "privileged and confidential" and she had "not waived her statutory privilege allowing the disclosure of her pre-sentence report."

James Crumbley's attorney wrote that the shooter is "able-bodied" and "capable of advising his counsel about his childhood, his parents and his home environment. Counsel has failed to explain to this Honorable Court why they cannot learn this evidence from him directly."

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

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