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Michigan Teen School Killer Gets Life Without Parole Sentence

Two years after the massacre at Michigan's Oxford High School, teenager Ethan Crumbley was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering four students and injuring seven other people in a rampage with a gun his parents bought him as an early Christmas present. Oakland County Circuit Judge Kwame Rowe noted that Crumbley did not ask for a sentence that might allow parole, even though his lawyers did. It was Crumbley's extensive planning, obsession with violence, stated desire for notoriety, his unwillingness to change his mind when he had the chance and his point-blank executions that convinced Rowe to issue the stiffest punishment, reports the Detroit Free Press. "He wanted to see the impact of his own crime, which is why he didn't take his own life," Rowe said. "He chose not to die on that day, because he wanted the notoriety. The terror that he caused in the state of Michigan ... is a true act of terrorism."

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The U.S. Supreme Court has held that juveniles may not be sentenced automatically to life without parole, reserving such terms for the rare juvenile whose rehabilitation is impossible. "Respectfully, he is the rare juvenile before this court," Rowe said. He stressed that Crumbley's mental illness did not interfere with his ability to carry out his crimes. He noted: "This started with him asking for a better gun to carry out the school shooting." For the first time, Crumbley publicly spoke about his crimes Friday, and apologized. "We are all here because of me today, what I did ... because of what I chose to do. I could not stop myself," said Crumbley. He said school officials and his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, who face involuntary manslaughter charges, were not to blame. "My parents did not know what I planned to do," the now-17-year-old killer said. "They are not at fault." Crumbley, 15 at the time of the killings, pleaded guilty last year, admitting he meant to cause panic and fear when he emerged from a bathroom and opened fire on Nov. 30, 2021, showing no emotion as he fired shots through hallways. The sentence was handed down after an emotional day of gut-wrenching victim impact statements from parents who both called for forgiveness — and vengeance.

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