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Prosecutors give closing arguments for Ethan Crumbley life sentence during last day of Miller hearing

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Friday was the final day of testimony in the hearing to determine whether the teenager who shot and killed four classmates at Oxford High School in 2021 will be sentenced as an adult.

Ethan Crumbley, who was 15 at the time of the murders, pleaded guilty last October. But if Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe determines he should be considered an adult, Crumbley will not be eligible for parole.

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald argued Crumbley was not mentally ill even while torturing animals.

"The most disturbing part about it was the defendant's voice as he was doing it — he was playful, he exhibited pleasure from it," McDonald said.

Defense attorney Paulette Loftin counters Crumbley was in crisis and his parents knew it.

"As hundreds of parents drove way above the speed limit to make sure that their child was still alive, we found out what his parents did. His dad went directly home to look for a gun and his mom texts him don't do it," Loftin stated in the courtroom.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Anacker examined Crumbley last year and testified she does not believe he was suffering from a mental illness during the shooting.

"I believe the defendant absolutely could have developed a major depressive disorder after time in jail and isolation, but what I was opining on is whether he had a statutorily defined mental illness at the time of the shooting," Anacker stated.

Crumbley is currently receiving treatment for depression and anxiety.

James and Jennifer Crumbley have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for buying their son the murder weapon and ignoring his mental health. The couple has a petition pending in front of the Michigan Supreme Court to have their case thrown out.

Judge Rowe has set a decision date for Sept. 29 and will formally sentence Ethan Crumbley on Dec. 8.

Russ McNamara is a reporter and host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners.