A judge will hear testimony on the fourth and last day of the trial on Friday to determine whether a teenager will be sentenced to life in prison for the deadly shooting of four students at a Michigan high school in 2021.
It is not expected that a decision will be made right away. Prosecutors intend to refute a psychologist’s assertions that Ethan Crumbley was a “feral child” and mentally sick when he attacked students and staff at Oxford High School.
Crumbley, now 17, admitted to murder, terrorism, and other charges. His attorneys argue that he can be rehabilitated while in prison and that he should be sentenced with the possibility of parole in the future.
“Ethan’s brain is still maturing,” psychologist Colin King said on Aug. 1.
Because of his age – he was 15 at the time of the crime — the boy cannot be sentenced to life in prison. Judge Kwame Rowe of Oakland County must evaluate his maturity, mental health, difficult family life, and other factors established by the United States Supreme Court.
Rowe can still impose a life sentence, but it would be unusual for a Michigan adolescent. Crumbley would otherwise face a minimum jail sentence of 25 to 40 years, followed by parole eligibility.
The shooter’s youth was portrayed by defense attorney Paulette Michel Loftin as one of violence in the home, mental instability, a lack of counseling, and access to firearms.
“And where did that lead us?” she said of King, who had evaluated and questioned the adolescent.
“Tragedy,” he said.
James and Jennifer Crumbley have been charged separately with involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of purchasing a firearm for their son while disregarding his mental health.
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