Ethan Crumbley, the 16-year-old accused of shooting and killing four students at a Michigan high school last year, pleaded guilty to all 24 charges related to the shooting. The prosecutor’s office said no deals were made ahead of Monday’s plea. It came after Crumbley’s attorneys had pursued an insanity defense.
“Originally we filed a notice of insanity and based on the conversations that we’ve had and the review of the discovery we felt it appropriate to withdraw that and have him plead guilty today,” Crumbley Attorney Paulette Loftin said. “We have to all remember he is a 16-year-old boy. So, a very scary situation today to be in front of a number of cameras, hear the clicking, to be appearing in front of a judge.”
The 24 charges include first degree murder and terrorism charges. A first-degree murder conviction typically brings an automatic life prison sentence in Michigan. However, teenagers are entitled to a hearing at which their lawyer can argue for a shorter term and an opportunity for parole.
Crumbley had no discipline issues at the school prior to the shooting, but his behavior earlier that day raised flags. A teacher had discovered a drawing with a gun pointing at the words: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” There was an image of a bullet with the message: “Blood everywhere.”
According to investigators, Crumbley’s parents declined to take him home that day. They were told to get him into counseling within 48 hours.
A day before the shooting, a teacher had seen Crumbley searching for ammunition on his phone. The school reached out to his mother, who the prosecutor’s office said texted Crumbley: “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
Crumbley’s guilty plea comes as his parents face involuntary manslaughter charges for their alleged role in the Michigan high school shooting. They are accused of making a gun accessible to their son and ignoring his need for mental health treatment.
The Crumbleys said they were unaware of Ethan’s plan to commit a school shooting. They also dispute that the gun was easy to grab at home.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.