Parole board votes not to release Michael Carneal early, will continue to serve life sentence

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Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 9:20 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2022 at 9:29 AM EDT
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PADUCAH, Ky. (WYMT/AP) - Update: The full meeting of the Kentucky Parole Board was held Monday morning. During the session, members unanimously voted to keep Michael Carneal in prison to serve out his life sentence.

Carneal, now 39, told parole board members last week that he would live with his parents and continue his mental health treatment if they agreed to release him. He admitted that he still hears voices like the ones that told him to steal a neighbor’s pistol and fire it into the crowded lobby of Heath High School in 1997. However, Carneal said that with therapy and medication, he has learned to control his behavior.

Several of those wounded in the shooting and relatives of those who were killed also spoke to the parole board panel last week. Most expressed a wish for Carneal to spend the rest of his life in prison. Carneal told the panel there are days that he believes he deserves to die for what he did, but other days he thinks he could still do some good in the world.

Parole Board Chair Ladeidra Jones earlier told Carneal their “number one charge is to maintain public safety.” She informed him that his inmate file listed his mental health prognosis as “poor” and says he experiences “paranoid thoughts with violent visual imagery.”

Original Story: Following a split vote between a two-person panel last week, one Kentucky school shooter’s case will go before the full parole board on Monday.

Michael Carneal gave his testimony to the panel on Tuesday. The same group heard from victims and family members of those killed last Monday.

Carneal was convicted of killing three of his classmates and shooting five others at Heath High School in Paducah back on December 1st, 1997.

He was a 14-year-old freshman at the time and got sentenced to life in prison with the option for parole after 25 years.

Carneal told the board during his hearing voices in his head led him to bring five guns to the school and pull the trigger on that morning.

He said he still hears those voices, but hasn’t acted on them.

Board members noted that there’s only been one violent incident in his 25 years in prison.

The hearing is underway. You can watch it below.