(WXYZ) — Judge Kwame Rowe ruled on Friday morning that the Oxford school shooter is eligible to serve life in prison without parole. His sentencing is scheduled for December 8.
In today’s hearing, Judge Rowe cited the defendant’s maturity at the age of 15, when he committed the crime, saying he thought in-depth about his future and how he fit into the world. The judge noted the defendant conducted significant research for criminal penalties, specifically searching “what is a life sentence for a 15-year-old,” and that there is no doubt that this was a premeditated crime.
Judge Rowe also discussed his age and home and family environment being mitigating factors in the case.
The Miller hearing, which spanned multiple days during the summer, was to help determine whether the shooter can spend life in prison without parole for admitting to killing four and wounding others in November of 2021 at Oxford High School.
Inside court in August on the last day of the hearing, families of victims broke down several times during final witness testimony, and, after closing arguments, more emotions came out.
“We don’t have any closure or answers for that day,” said parent Buck Myre in August. “These are kids, four kids that were murdered, seven shot, hundreds terrorized.”
Reflecting on the deaths of Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, and Justin Shilling, prosecution witness Dr. Lisa Anacker, a trained forensic psychiatrist, said the defendant is not mentally ill based on evidence and interviews about the premeditated attack which he planned to survive.
“What we don’t see is any signs of bizarre behavior, disorganized speech, responding to internal stimuli. I can understand how it’s difficult to imagine how a sane person can commit mass murder, but research shows mental illness doesn’t account for most of the violence in our country,” said Dr. Anacker.
However, the defense focused on what they call evidence to the contrary.
“His brain was on fire. The journal, texts, searches, bird videos, ramblings are all indicative of mental illness. With proper intervention from school staff, counselors, and parents, this could have been stopped,” said defense attorney Paulette Loftin.
The sentencing for the defendant is set for December 8 in person.