KENTUCKY (WEHT) The full Kentucky parole board will decide next week whether to let the man convicted of a high school shooting 25 years ago out on parole.
Michael Carneal, who is serving a life sentence for killing three people at the Heath High School shooting in Paducah in 1997, testified at his parole hearing this morning.
During today’s hearing, Carneal told the panel that he was hearing voices in his head at the time of the shooting, and that he still hears them, adding there’s no excuse for his actions.
“Even when you’re 14, any thing you do with a gun is not good. I should have known it was going to lead to something terrible,” he said.
Carneal is serving a life sentence for murder, attempted murder and burglary for killing three people and injuring five others at Heath High School in December, 1997. Carneal told the panel he doesn’t know if he deserves parole, but claims he can still do good in the community.
“I know it’s not going to change anything and it’s not going to make anything better, but i want them to know that i am sorry for what I did,” he said.
The family of Nicole Hadley, one of the three victims, told the panel that Carneal should stay in prison.
“He had enough weapons and ammunition to hurt much more. I believe the murderer should never be let out of prison, and should serve the remainder of his life sentence,” said Chuck Hadley, Nicole’s father.
Survivor Missy Jenkins Smith questioned what would happen if Carneal is let out, but can’t handle life outside prison.
“What if these problems affect him so much emotionally, that he chooses not to take his medication? What if it affects him emotionally that his meds aren’t helping him anymore? There are too many what ifs,” Smith said.
Not all the survivors say Carneal needs to remain in prison. Hollan Holm says he’s still deeply affected by the shooting, but there are some circumstances where he could agree with Carneal getting a second chance.
“If the mental health experts think he can be successful on the outside, he should get that chance.This is a difficult position for me to take,” said Holm.
The parole board is expected to reconvene Monday where it could make a recommendation on Carneal’s future.
(This story was originally published on September 20, 2022)