Attorney: Ethan Crumbley’s guilty plea will have ‘substantial’ implications for parents
OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WNEM) - Ethan Crumbley admitted guilt in the deadly mass shooting at Oxford High School last November, and an attorney for several of the victims and their families believes it will have an impact on the case involving Crumbley’s parents.
Crumbley, 16, appeared in Oakland County Circuit Court Monday to plead guilty to all 24 charges against him.
The most serious counts against him are four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and terrorism causing death.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said Monday’s plea came with no negotiations, no offers and no sentencing agreements.
“The pleas were also important because it guarantees that every person who was in Oxford High School on that day will have a chance, if they want to, to speak in their own words about how this has affected them,” McDonald said.
First-degree murder typically comes with an automatic life sentence, but because Crumbley is a teenager, he’ll face a hearing in February that will take into account his age and home life. It will ultimately help the judge determine his sentence.
Crumbley’s parents are charged in the shooting, accused of giving him easy access to a gun and failing to care for their son when he showed signs of mental distress.
James and Jennifer Crumbley pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Their son might be called to testify against them.
Ven Johnson, an attorney for several of the victims’ families, said Ethan Crumbley’s words under oath Monday will have implications for his parents.
“What he said today was that he asked his dad, went to the gun store with his dad. His dad bought the gun for him, and that he, Ethan Crumbley, gave his own money toward the gun,” Johnson said.
He explained why it could implicate the James Crumbley specifically.
“Now under United States law, it’s not just a Michigan law, under United States federal law, you can’t own a handgun if you’re under 18,” Johnson said. “So to me that exposes the father to federal charges, and I’m hoping that we hear from the United States Attorney’s office here in Detroit soon to see what, if anything, they’re going to do about that.”
Johnson said Monday’s proceedings were an emotional victory for the victims’ families.
“The good news is they don’t have to go through that criminal trial. But, now there’s another trial with Crumbley parents, and then obviously we have a civil case in state court, and we have a civil case in federal court,” Johnson said.
He said the ramifications of Ethan Crumbley’s words will be important in the parents’ criminal and civil cases.
“I think they’re going to be substantial in the parent’s criminal case as well as in multiple civil cases that have been filed against them,” Johnson said.
The criminal trial for the parents is set for next year.
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