The 17-year-old who killed four Michigan schoolmates in a 2021 shooting that has also ensnared his parents is expected to learn Friday whether he’ll spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 when he opened fire Nov. 30, 2021, at Oxford High School in Oxford, appeared before Oakland County Judge Kwamé Rowe, who heard a series of tearful impact statements before the teen learns his fate.
Although he was convicted of first-degree murder — a crime that would automatically make an offender eligible for life without parole — Crumbley’s age led to a separate hearing to determine whether that sentence would be warranted.
Rowe determined that Crumbley didn’t show potential for rehabilitation and that his crimes didn’t bear “hallmarks of youth” and that he could therefore be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Under state law, the judge can also sentence him to a minimum term of 25 to 40 years in prison because he was under 18 when he committed felony murder, prosecutors said in a motion seeking life in prison.
Baldwin’s mother, Nicole Beausoleil, said she takes some solace that Crumbley didn’t end his life that day, as many mass killers do, so he can suffer a lifetime behind bars.
“To the waste that took my daughter’s life that name will never come out of my mouth. That life will cease to exist to me and just like trash, it will be forgotten,” Beausoleil told the court. “I don’t wish death upon you, but hope the thoughts consume you.”
Craig Schilling, the father of victim Justin Schilling, said golfing, bowling, camping, kayaking, hunting and fishing with his son were among their favorite pastimes. The grieving dad said he still struggles to grasp how he’ll never do those activities with him again.
“In lieu of absolute execution, I feel strongly that the individual should never be allowed to walk among his peers again,” Craig Schilling told the court. “This is why I’m going to ask you to lock this son of a b—- off for the rest of his pathetic life.”
Kylie Ossege, now a student at Michigan State University, recalled being with her friend Hana St. Juliana, when they were both shot that day.
As she was on the ground and bleeding out, Ossege said she did math problems in her head just to stay conscious and hopefully alive.
“It has been 738 days of constant physical and mental pain,” Ossege said. “It’s been 738 days of living with PTSD scared of the thought of someone hurting me again. It has been 738 days of living with survivor’s guilt, knowing that I could not save Hana St. Juliana.”
Parents and loved ones of victims cried over all the opportunities lost when Crumbley opened fire with a weapon allegedly purchased for him by his parents.
“He took four kids’ opportunities to grow into incredible young men and women, and he should never have the opportunity to see the light,” Tate Myre’s brother Trent said.
Crumbley, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, appeared to have his head down or was looking away from the lectern throughout much of Friday’s emotional hearing.
Several times during her address to the court, Baldwin’s friend Madeline Johnson challenged Crumbley to look at her as she spoke.
Baldwin enjoyed doodling on gum wrappers and Johnson wore a T-shirt with one of those drawings on it.
“She said that it was the two of us as dinosaurs, best friends, even in the prehistoric times,” Johnson said.
The witness insisted that Baldwin would have befriended Crumbley, had he only reached out.
“She would have treated you with nothing but kindness, had you not killed her,” she said. “I’m not sure how much emotion you’re capable of feeling but I hope you regret it. And I hope it eats away at you.”
Virtually everyone at Oxford High School has been left with deep emotional wounds, said Catherine Waymaster, the mother of two students on campus that day.
Her daughter was only feet away from where the shooting began and she “chose to arm herself with the star from the top of the classroom Christmas tree to use as a stabbing device” had Crumbley entered.
Waymaster’s son befriended Crumbley and occasionally played video games with him.
“The defendant would help him with homework in class,” she said. “My son trusted him. My son trusted you. Now my son trusts no one.”
They had been set to stand trial on Jan. 23, but their requests for separate trials have been granted, most likely pushing those proceedings further down the calendar.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.