Day 1 of Ky. school shooter’s parole hearings wraps up

Day 1 of Ky. school shooter’s parole hearings wraps up
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 1:57 PM EDT
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PADUCAH, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - The parole hearings for Kentucky school shooter Michael Carneal are underway.

Carneal was a 14-year-old high school freshman in 1997 when he killed three students and injured five more in a school shooting in Western Kentucky. He is eligible for parole after serving 25 years of his life sentence.

Monday morning was emotional for victims and family members of the three girls who were killed. They spoke at Carneal’s parole hearing.

“Him being released is a tragedy in itself. It’s not fair for anybody involved,” said Andrew Hadley, Nicole Hadley’s brother.

The family of Nicole Hadley, along with Hollan Holm and Missy Jenkins Smith all voiced their experiences and the consequences of that day.

“He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. Also on December 1, 1997, Michael sentenced me to life in a wheelchair without the possibility of parole, ever,” said shooting victim Missy Jenkins Smith.

Christina Hadley was in Heath High School the at morning her sister became Carneal’s first victim.

“Nicole was the first one shot. I believe that Michael knew what he was doing the day of the shooting. He brought five guns with him, enough ammo to shoot everyone in the school twice, and had three pairs of earplugs,” said Christina Hadley Ellegood, Nicole Hadley’s sister. “I believe that he should have to spend the rest of his life incarcerated. Nicole does not get a second chance. Why should he?”

Her brother Andrew said that his young daughter asks about Nicole often.

“When she’ll get to meet her, and how amazing was she, and she hopes she gets to be something like her, which I still can’t comprehend that my daughter, who’s now five, is asking these questions but I struggle with it knowing that, at some point, I have to explain to her what happened, and the possibility of that happening again,” Andrew said.

Hollan Holm was the only victim at the hearing today who told the board that he thought Carneal deserved a chance on parole. He said that at 14 and 15 years old, when Carneal shot him in the head, he was not the same person he is now and he thinks Carneal deserves that chance to be a different person.

The second part of Carneal’s hearing will take place Tuesday. Carneal will have the chance to make his case for parole to the judge during that part.