Just over two years since he opened fire at Oxford High School, killing four students and wounding seven other people at the school, Ethan Crumbley will hear his sentence Friday in an Oakland County courtroom.
Survivors and victims’ loved ones were ushered into the courtroom shortly after 8:30 a.m. in preparation for a day dominated by victim impact statements, followed by Oakland County Circuit Judge, Kwame Rowe, announcing Crumbley’s sentence.
As the impact statements began, Rowe instructed the media not to show the faces of the minors who spoke.
The Free Press is monitoring the hearing via livestream and from the courtroom. You can watch the hearing below.
Parents of murdered children are the first to speak
The first victim impact statement was read by Nicole Beausoleil, mother of 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin, who was shot and killed while crouching next to her locker.
Her mother recounted in heartbreaking detail how she learned that day in the manager’s office at Meijer that her daughter had been murdered, how she refused to believe the tragic news, how she had to wait to see her daughter, and the searing pain she felt. when he had to identify her the next day at the coroner’s office.
“Madisyn Baldwin, a name most did not know before this horrible act, but now a name everyone loves,” he said.
“When the world goes dark, they are the stars,” said Beausoleil, who sometimes struggled to maintain her composure before the judge, a photograph of her daughter in a fedora propped on the prosecutor’s table.
Recalling the day her daughter was killed, Beausoleil noted that when she received the news that the school had been attacked, her daughter had already been gone for more than an hour. Beausoleil said that as she walked through the nearby Meijer, where students and families gathered after the shooting, she kept asking where her daughter was, but all she got were blank stares.
Then someone asked Madisyn Baldwin’s family to follow them and they told her that their daughter had been killed.
Beausoleil said they were suffocating with disbelief.
“Tears soaked the cold floor I lay on,” she said, adding that she had to tell Madisyn’s sister, then 11, that she was gone.
She described seeing her daughter’s body lying on a stretcher, her hair stained with blood. She was not allowed to touch her daughter or hold her hand. She was dragged away, screaming.
“That wasn’t my daughter, Madisyn was far from lifeless,” Beausoleil said.
Crumley, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, began to walk down to the table as Beausoleil spoke.
“I hope the screaming keeps you up at night and gives you real hallucinations,” he told Crumbley. “Those four walls become your home, suffocated by guilt.”
He said he was happy Crumbley had decided not to take his own life: “I really feel sorry for you because you thought this would be a better life choice.”
Tate Myre’s father
Buck Myre, whose son Tate died in the massacre, spoke of forgiveness.
“We’re all screaming… We’re the prisoner, not you,” he told the teenage killer.
“We need to find a way to find forgiveness: forgiveness for you, forgiveness for your parents, forgiveness for the school, what other option do we have?
“Believe me, we will never forget you, ever. What you stole from us is not replaceable. But what we will not allow to be taken from us is a life of normality.”
Myre said that on Nov. 30, 2021, he was working from home and his wife was working in Lake Orion. He heard sirens getting louder. He received a call from his wife and she told him what was happening at Oxford High. Myre said he finished a conference call, headed to the school and texted his son a couple of times, with no response.
He and his wife arrived at the Meijer and began looking for their son. They were called to the manager’s office and given the news “that Tate was no longer with us.”
“What catches my attention the most is what my wife said. She put her hands to her head and said, ‘Not my baby.’”
He said for the past two years his family has been going through total hell. She said they wear the pain like a heavy coat.
“Every hour is the darkest time of the day,” he said.
Myre said that as the family navigates “treacherous waters” today, they try to honor their son.
“Today is the day the tides change,” Myre said.
Crumley’s eyes were downcast during the statement.
Justin Shilling’s father.
The third impact statement came from Craig Shilling, whose son Justin was shot dead in a bathroom, Crumbley’s last victim before he handed himself in to police.
“That day, my life was shattered,” Schilling told the judge. “Grief had consumed me…the events that took place that day have shaken three generations of our family.”
Birthdays and holidays no longer carry the special feelings they used to, he said.
“There are no words that can describe the pain… anxiety, stress… scattered thoughts,” he said. “This unfair reality is something I will never get over.
“I still find myself waiting for him… it’s unbearable knowing he’ll never walk through that door.”
Shilling implored the judge to lock up the shooter forever, without ever mentioning his name.
“I’m going to ask you to lock this son of a bitch up for the rest of his pathetic life.
“My son doesn’t get a second chance and he shouldn’t have one either.”
He expressed his anger and said, “Ethan Crumbley should be remembered as the biggest coward in Michigan history.”
How we got here: Oxford High School shooting case
Crumbley, who was 15 years old when he carried out the deadly massacre on November 30, 2021, pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism charges last year, admitting that he planned and carried out the shooting, and that he intended to cause panic and fear at the school that day.
According to court testimony, Crumbley planned and obsessed over the school shooting in his diary, writing that he wanted to survive the rampage so he could witness the pain and suffering.
He four students who died They were Hana Santa Juliana, 14 years old; Tate Myre, 16 years old; Madisyn Baldwin, 17 years old; and Justin Shilling, 17.
In September, Rowe determined that Crumbley is eligible for a sentence of life in prison without parole after a long and emotional miller hearinga mandatory procedure that helps judges decide whether minors should spend the rest of their lives in prison.
What about James and Jennifer Crumbley?
Meanwhile, James and Jennifer Crumbley continue to maintain their innocence in the unprecedented case of the first parents in America to be charged in a mass school shooting. They will face separate trials in January on charges of involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of ignoring his son’s mental health issues and buying him a gun instead of seeking help, the same gun he used in the November 2021 massacre.