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Michigan school shooter eligible for life without parole

The teenager responsible for the 2021 school shooting that left four students dead in Michigan is eligible for life in prison without parole, a judge ruled Friday.

Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the Oxford High School shooting, pleaded guilty to 24 charges — including terrorism and first-degree murder — in October. He was also allegedly seen by a teacher looking at pictures of ammunition the day before the shooting.

“The court … finds that the prosecution has rebutted the presumption by clear and convincing evidence, that a sentence to life without parole is a disproportionate sentence,” Judge Kwamé L. Rowe said Friday during a hearing.

“This crime is not the result of impetuosity or recklessness,” Rowe said, according to The Associated Press. “Nor does the crime reflect the hallmarks of youth. Defendant carefully and meticulously planned and carried out the shooting.”

The judge also claimed the teenager possessed a full school map, looked into how long it would take the police to arrive and researched prisons.

In Michigan, first-degree murder convictions often result in automatic life sentences. However, teenagers are afforded to have a hearing in which their lawyer can argue for a shorter sentence for reasons including mental health challenges.

On the morning of the shooting, a teacher allegedly found a drawing by Crumbley showing a gun pointed at the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”

Prosecutors in the case have also alleged that his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, allowed him the accessibility to the gun and taught him how to shoot, despite knowing of his mental health issues. His parents were arrested on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Rowe explained that because Crumbley was still “obsessed with violence” even while incarcerated, rehabilitation wasn’t likely.

“As the defendant’s own expert stated, the defendant has to be the one who wants to change if he is to be rehabilitated,” Rowe said, according to the AP. “Evidence does not demonstrate to the court that he wants to change.”

Crumbley is expected to be sentenced Dec. 8 in Oakland County, Mich.

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