Kentucky School Shooter Who Killed Three Girls in 1997 Seeks Parole After 25 Years in Prison

Kentucky School Shooter Who Killed Three Girls in 1997 Seeks Parole: This week, a Kentucky man convicted of murdering three pupils and injuring five others in a school shooting 25 years ago may be eligible for parole.

In 1997, freshman Michael Carneal, then 14 years old, opened fire with a stolen gun in the Heath High School lobby, located close to Paducah, Kentucky, during a pre-school prayer gathering. The maximum sentence for someone his age was life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

He told the Kentucky newspaper Courier-Journal in 2002, during one of the few interviews he has given since then, “I thought I was living a wretched existence. Nobody cares about me. Nobody loves me.”

Carneal then expressed his regret for what he had done and said that he had not been considering the individuals he would harm or kill at the time. He claimed there was no easy explanation for why he became angry, although at the time.

He was experiencing delusions and paranoia. He contended that in-prison counseling and medicines helped stabilize his mental health. Although that may sound strange, he said, “I am not an aggressive guy.”

The Associated Press recently sent Carneal, who is now 39, a formal request for an interview. Carneal did not respond. On Monday, the parole hearing for Carneal begins with testimony from those who were hurt in the shooting and the close families of those who died.

On Tuesday, Carneal will argue for his release from the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange. If the board rejects him, they can determine how much time Carneal must pass before he can apply for parole again.

Kentucky School Shooter Who Killed Three Girls in 1997 Seeks Parole
Kentucky School Shooter Who Killed Three Girls in 1997 Seeks Parole

14-year-old Nicole Hadley, 17-year-old Jessica James, and 15-year-old Kayce Steger perished in the shooting. Missy Jenkins Smith, who is disabled and needs a wheelchair, is one of the hurt. In 2007, she encountered Carneal in jail and spoke with him for a considerable time. She said she had forgiven him after he apologized to her.

She said she was against his release from prison and noted that many people believed it absolved him of punishment. She fears he is not prepared for life outside prison and could still cause harm to others. She also believes that it would not be proper for him to be released while the victims of his injuries are still in pain.

On September 9, Paducah’s chief prosecutor, Commonwealth’s Attorney Daniel Boaz, sent a letter to the Kentucky Parole Board about Carneal’s release.

On December 1, 1997, Boaz said, “I experienced and witnessed the immediate impact of Michael Carneal’s conduct and have dealt with the effects of his actions ever since.

He noted that the loss experienced by the relatives of the murdered children was “beyond great to be expressed in words.” Life in prison for Carneal “may seem like a terrible penalty, yet it is merely a trifle about what these families suffer,” the judge wrote.

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