OXFORD, Mich. (FOX 2) - One day after Ethan Crumbley admitted to killing four fellow students inside Oxford High School, parents of students who were in the halls that day are finding just a little bit of justice.
Crumbley pleaded guilty to all 24 counts against him, withdrawing an insanity defense and instead accepting guilt for his involvement in the mass shooting at Oxford High School in 2021.
The 16-year-old 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.
The terrorism charge is the first time that a charge like this has stuck at the state level and has major implications on the 1,800 students in the school that day.
Among them was Andrea Jones' son, Griffen. He's now a senior at the high school and was in the hallway when the gunfire erupted, terrorizing the school and community.
"It changes you it changes your life it’s never the same," Jones said. "It's terrorism on any level no matter how you look at it. Anyone in the building is a victim."
Prosecutor Karen McDonald said the terrorism charge was necessary to give all the victims of the shooting, even if they weren't physically hurt or relatives of murdered victims, to speak.
"It guarantees that every person that was in the high school that day will have a chance, if they want, to speak in their own words how that's affected them," McDonald said. "It's the first time that they have had this opportunity, including the ones that were terrorized will have that opportunity."
More Oxford shooting news:
- Ethan Crumbley guilty plea: Why accused Oxford High School shooter gets another hearing
- James and Jennifer Crumbley request release from jail as Oxford High School shooting cases progress
- Ven Johnson says Oxford High School missed 'stop signs' before shooting
- Prosecutor Karen McDonald seeks to curb gun violence by reporting advanced warning signs
Jones said her son's pain is more real than people may initially think.
"I hope every shooting after this follows suit and does the same thing," she said.
The shooter is facing life without parole and has a hearing set for February where Judge Rowe will decide if the sentence is fitting.
Jones thinks it's the right sentence for him to spend life in prison.
"Yes, I do. The crime that was committed at the age he was at I don't think he could be rehabilitated enough to be let out," Jones said.
She's grateful for the plea deal and that it won't trigger families any more than it already does.
"I think we feel lighter for it's one less huge part of it. The parents' trial will be next and with all the civil suits it could take years," she said.
The civil suits against school officials have now been strengthened by new information that came out in the plea hearing. In the shooter’s own words, he confirmed he had his gun, the murder weapon, and ammunition in his backpack as school officials questioned him about a disturbing drawing he’d done.
Attorneys say a search could have prevented the shooting.
"We still have employees that were directly involved in this incident employed in the district and not on administrative leave. (They're) still in contact with our kids and we are not getting answers, we are not getting accountability since day one from the district," Jones said.
During his plea hearing, Crumbley said he obtained a handgun after asking his parents to buy him one. He also picked out the gun, gave his dad the money to purchase it, and obtained it while it was unsecured.