Ethan Crumbley guilty plea: Why accused Oxford High School shooter gets another hearing

When accused Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley returns to court next, it won't be for his sentencing despite Monday's guilty plea.

Read: Crumbley pleads guilty to murder, terrorism

Before he is sentenced, Crumbley will have another hearing. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald has referred to this as a Miller hearing, in reference to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 Miller v. Alabama ruling.

That ruling prevents mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children. These sentences can still be imposed, but they require a special hearing to decide if it is appropriate. This means that Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the crime, cannot automatically receive life without the chance of parole.

"Even a 17-year-oId who sets off a bomb in a crowded mall or guns down a dozen students and teachers is a ‘child’ and must be given a chance to persuade a judge to permit his release into society," the justices wrote in their opinion.

The ruling has allowed juvenile lifers to request new trials and hearings, and some have even been released from prison as a result. 

During Crumbley's Feb. 9, 2023, hearing, factors such as his age, life circumstances, and crime circumstances will be considered.

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Crumbley, now 16, accepted guilt to four counts of murder, one count of terrorism, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony.

He signed his plea agreement last week, giving up his right to a trial which was originally scheduled for January. He originally filed a defense of insanity earlier this year.