The proceeding this week, known as a Miller hearing, will require Judge Kwamé Rowe to consider a number of factors, including the role that Mr. Crumbley’s age, family and home environment might have played in the crime, as well as the possibility that he might eventually be rehabilitated. Prosecutors have argued that Mr. Crumbley should never be eligible for release despite the limits imposed by the Supreme Court in the 2012 case, Miller v. Alabama.
Prosecutors said in a court filing that the gunman had a “plan and desire to commit violent, disturbing acts for his own pleasure and feeling of power.” They also said Mr. Crumbley, now 17, had misbehaved in jail, calling “into question whether this defendant can ever be rehabilitated.”
Mr. Crumbley pleaded guilty last year to murder, attempted murder and terrorism in the shooting at his school, about 45 miles north of downtown Detroit. He killed four students — Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16; Justin Shilling, 17; and Hana St. Juliana, 14 — and injured several others. The gunman said in court last year that he had asked his father to buy the 9-millimeter handgun used in the killings, and that it had been left unlocked in the home.
Mr. Crumbley’s lawyers have sought, without much success, to limit evidence and testimony at this week’s hearing. They have also described their client as a troubled teenager whose difficult upbringing makes him exactly the sort of young person who should have a chance to leave prison.
“Life without the possibility of parole is not a proportionate sentence for a 15-year-old boy with an abhorrent family life who struggled with untreated mental illness,” the lawyers wrote in a court filing.