Parole board unable to reach unanimous decision in Ky. school shooter’s case
PADUCAH, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT/KFVS) - Nearly 25 years after he opened fire on his classmates at a Kentucky high school, Michael Carneal faced his first chance at freedom.
Carneal was a 14-year-old high school freshman in 1997 when he killed three students and injured five more in a school shooting at Heath High School in West Paducah.
He is now eligible for parole after serving 25 years of his life sentence.
Carneal’s two-day parole hearing began Monday. Monday was emotional for victims and family members of the three girls who were killed. They spoke at Carneal’s parole hearing.
All but one of the five people who testified asked the board not to let Carneal out on parole.
During Tuesday’s hearing with the Kentucky Parole Board, Carneal faced questions from a two-person board about why he did what he did and what he has done in 25 years to deserve a chance at life that he took from those students.
Much of the questioning focused on Carneal’s mental health. He said that in the lead-up to the shooting he was hearing voices in his head that told him to commit violent acts and on the morning of December 1, 1997, those voices led him to bring 5 guns to school and pull the trigger.
Carneal said that he still hears those voices, but that he hasn’t acted upon them for decades.
Following the more than one-hour Zoom meeting, officials told Carneal the two assembled members of the board were not able to come to a consensus and would have to take it to the full parole board on Monday, September 26.
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