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1997 Kentucky School Shooter to ‘rot’ in prison for life

1997 Kentucky School Shooter to 'rot' in prison for life

The 1997 Kentucky Heath High School mass shooter was denied parole 25 years later and to “rot” in prison for the rest of his life.


The Kentucky Parole Board denied the Kentucky school shooter’s plea for parole on Monday. They decided that he would have to serve the remainder of his life behind bars. This is for opening fire on classmates in a 1997 school shooting when he was just 14 years old.

Michael Carneal, now 39, informed the parole board members last week that if they decided to release him, he would continue his mental health therapy and live with his parents.

He acknowledged that he still hears voices similar to the ones who instructed him to break in and steal a neighbor’s gun to shoot a prayer circle in the crowded lobby of Heath High School located in West Paducah in December 1997.


Carneal claimed that he had learnt to control his actions thanks to therapy and medicine.

Nicole Hadley, 14, Kayce Steger, 15, and Jessica James, 17, were killed. Five additional people were hurt, including Missy Jenkins Smith, who is crippled and wheelchair-bound.

After nearly 30 minutes of private discussion, the board, which was in Frankfort, decided 7-0 to reject parole.

Carneal viewed the vote from the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange while using Zoom.

As Kentucky Parole Board Chair Ladeidra Jones asked each member for their vote, he sat hunched in a little chair. Jones then informed Carneal that he would spend the remainder of his life in prison.

This is “because of the seriousness of your crime.” Only saying “Yes, ma’am,” Carneal hurriedly walked away.


The 1997 Kentucky Heath High School mass shooting was one of the first in modern history

The mass shooting at the school was one of the first in contemporary American history, according to The Courier Journal.

The massacre at Heath High School happened exactly 17 months before Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold massacred 12 students and one teacher there and injured another 21.

Jenkins Smith, who had regarded Carneal as a friend before becoming paralyzed by one of his shots, claimed that she was so concerned about the decision that she was unable to sleep on Sunday night.

She claimed that when she heard it, she was shocked. She told the Associated Press, “It’s so hard to imagine I don’t have to worry about it again.”

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Together with another victim, Kelly Hard Alsip, and their families, Jenkins Smith watched the hearing from her home in Kirksey.

She added that her 15-year-old oldest son had been concerned that if Carneal was released, he might visit their home.

The parole board panel heard from Jenkins Smith, Alsip, and other gunshot victims, as well as the surviving family members of the deceased last week.

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The majority of people said they wanted Carneal to live out his days in prison. Carneal admitted to the panel that while some days he feels as though he should be executed for what he did, other days he feels as though he may still make a difference in the world.


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