DETROIT — A teenager accused of killing four classmates and injuring others 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.
“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.
Crumbley, 16, is due in court on Monday. A message seeking comment was left for his lawyers.
He was 15 when the shooting happened. Crumbley’s parents had been called to school that day to discuss their son’s disturbing writings. A teacher had found a drawing with a gun pointed at the words: “Thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”
James and Jennifer Crumbley had said they would advise him, but refused to take Ethan home, according to investigators.
Oxford High is about 50 kilometers north of Detroit.
Crumbley is charged with one count of terrorism causing death, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted murder and 12 counts related to the use of a firearm.
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 time.
Separately, James and Jennifer Crumbley face manslaughter charges, a rare case of prosecutors trying to blame parents for a school shooting. They are accused of making a weapon available to their son and ignoring his need for mental health treatment.
“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.
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.
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