PONTIAC, Mich. (FOX 2) - On Friday, the Oxford High School shooter returned to court for his final appearance in Judge Kwame Rowe's courtroom where a bit of closure on some level was brought to the families in Oxford.
The shooter arrived in court for a 9 a.m. sentencing that included dozens of victim impact statements. After listening to the families of Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17, describe what they've lost, Judge Rowe sentenced the shooter to spend the rest of his life in prison without a chance of parole.
The shooter admitted to the shooting in October 2022, when he pleaded guilty to murdering Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Justin Shilling, 17.
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- Tate Myre's family speak during Oxford shooter's sentencing; 'My baby boy'
- 'Biggest coward in Michigan history': Justin Shilling's father wishes pain upon Oxford High School shooter
- Justin Shilling would have been Oxford shooter's friend if he had only asked, his mom says
But that wasn't the end. Instead, it initiated several more steps in the process, including a Miller Hearing, which is required by federal law.
Due to the shooter's age at the time of the crime, he was 15 at the time, he could be sentenced automatically to life in prison without parole. The Miller Hearing is a federal requirement to decide if life without parole sentences are appropriate for children.
The shooter pleaded guilty 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 after the Nov. 30, 2021 shooting.
During the Miller Hearing, Rowe heard arguments from both the shooter's attorneys and the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office. He ultimately sided with the prosecutor, saying that the shooter should be eligible for life in prison.
On Friday, the shooter will appear in court for the sentencing. But that's not all.
A memorial outside of Oxford High School continues to grow on December 03 2021 in Oxford, Michigan. Four students were killed and seven others injured on November 30, when a student opened fire with a pistol at the school. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty
How many Oxford High School victims will speak?
Victims of the shooting – including family members of the four students killed, students who were shot, and students who were in the school that day – are all given the chance to speak in court about how the shooter's actions impacted them.
That could be close to 2,000 students. The reason the number is so high is because of the nature of what the shooter pleaded guilty to.
The shooter admitted on October 24 to four counts of murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, 12 counts of possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony, and one count of terrorism.
The terrorism conviction gives all victims at the school that day a chance to address the shooter in court during his sentencing.
Prosecutor Karen McDonald said last fall 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."
The full list of students who could speak in court on Friday has not been finalized. FOX 2 has contacted the court – which has said to expect at least one full day of victim impact statements.
When will the Oxford High School shooter be sentenced?
The Oxford High School shooter will be in court on Friday, Dec. 8, at 9 a.m. where the sentencing will begin.
However, he will not be sentenced until after the court has given all victims the chance to speak and give victim impact statements.
The maximum sentence in Michigan for murder is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
FOX 2 will stream it live on this page on Friday morning.