Ethan Crumbley admits guilt to murder in Oxford High School shooting

Ethan Crumbley, the teenager charged with killing four fellow students at Oxford High School in November and wounding six others and a teacher, pleaded guilty this morning in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Teen pleads guilty, admits details of crime

Crumbley, who 11 months ago penned in his journal "I will cause the biggest school shooting in Michigan's history. I have fully mentally lost it," pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree murder and terrorism charges for the bloodshed he vowed to carry out at Oxford High School four days after his parents bought him a gun.

In a packed courtroom filled with the victims' grieving families, Crumbley, 16, took responsibility for the murders of his classmates,  Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17,  Hana St. Juliana, 14, and Justin Shilling, 17, and the injuries he caused to seven others who were struck by his bullets.

"Is it your own choice to plead guilty?" Oakland County Circuit Judge Kwame Rowe asked him.

"Yes sir," Crumbley responded.

Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the killing, then admitted that he deliberately shot and killed the students with his 9 mm handgun — confirming what he wrote in his journal one day before the tragedy.

More:Crumbley's guilty plea raises questions of what comes next for parents

"First off, I got my gun. It's an SP2022 SIG Sauer 9mm. Second, the shooting is tomorrow, I have access to the gun and ammo," Crumbley wrote in his journal. "... the first victim has to be a pretty girl with a future so she can suffer like me."

Is it true that you intended to cause panic and fear?" the prosecutor asked him.

"Yes," he responded.

Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley appears in court at the Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac on Monday, October 24, 2022.
Oxford High School shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley appears in court at the Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac on Monday, October 24, 2022.

Teen: The gun was not locked up

In entering his guilty plea, Crumbley dropped a bombshell that may hurt his parents in their separate criminal case, telling the judge that the gun he used in the shooting was easily accessible.

"It was not locked," he said in court, contradicting his parents' claims that the gun was properly stored in a secure area.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly buying their son the gun that police say was used in the shooting.

Unanswered questions

Wolf Mueller, a lawyer representing two victim families in civil cases, said the guilty plea was a relief.

"It saves them from having to relive in court in public all the trauma and harm that they've experienced over the last year," he said. "But as I said, there are so many questions that are unanswered questions that we need to get to the bottom of, and we will get to the bottom of that."

“Today was a traumatic day, and while there’s a guilty plea, there’s still plenty of answers that we need to find,” said attorney Wolfgang Mueller, who is representing school families in a civil lawsuit against the school district over the shooting.

"It was cold-blooded what he did," Mueller said.  "While he may have been dealt a bad set of cards with the parents, it's still a choice that he made to do the harm and bring the tragedy to Oxford."

As for Ethan Crumbley's demeanor in court, Mueller said: "I'm frankly stunned by the lack of emotion ... there was no soul there."

More:Oxford shooting deaths include honor student, athletes and artist

'Taking accountability for his actions'

Crumbley, who now faces life in prison, pleaded guilty to all 24 counts with which he was charged, including first-degree murder, terrorism causing death, homicide and assault with intent to murder.

"You understand the maximum penalties you face here … life in prison, without parole," the judge asked him.

"Yes sir," Crumbley responded from the lectern.

Crumbley, who has been locked up since the mass killing 11 months ago, showed no emotion as he delivered his guilty plea, offering only brief details about how he plotted to take a gun to school to kill his classmates.

During his plea, Crumbley told the judge that he asked his dad to buy him a gun, and that he gave him his own money to pay for it — though the parents have long maintained that they had no idea he would use the gun to carry out a mass shooting.

"He's taking accountability for his actions," his lawyer Paulette Loftin told reporters after the hearing, saying her client is "definitely" remorseful for what he did.

"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," Loftin said, later adding: "It is an extremely emotional day. I don't think there are any words that could make (the victims' families) feel better."

The scene before the proceeding

From Friday: Crumbley to plead guilty to all charges, prosecutor says

Prosecutors said Friday they made no plea deals, no reductions and no agreements regarding sentencing.

"We can confirm that the shooter is expected to plead guilty to all 24 charges, including terrorism, and the prosecutor has notified the victims," said David Williams, chief assistant prosecutor in Oakland County.

His parents were summoned to school on Nov. 30. to discuss his disturbing behavior. James and Jennifer Crumbley had said they would get him counseling but declined to take their son home. Ethan Crumbley, who has since turned 16, had a gun in his backpack and went on his rampage soon after his parents left.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ethan Crumbley pleads guilty in Oxford school shooting