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Ky. board denies parole to 1997 Heath High School shooter

Kentucky Parole Board

The Kentucky Parole Board voted unanimously Monday morning that Michael Carneal, who committed the 1997 Heath High School shooting, would be denied parole and serve out the remainder of his life sentence.

A 7-0 vote followed closed deliberations by the group which issued a brief statement shortly after the meeting ended, saying the decision “was made in compliance with Kentucky law and in effort to maintain a delicate balance between public safety, victim rights, reintegration of the offender and recidivism.”

Kentucky Parole Board chair Ladeidra Jones addressed Carneal to deliver the decision.

“After deliberating, Mr. Carneal, due to the seriousness of your crime – your crime involved a weapon, you had lives taken and the seriousness, again,” she said. “It is the decision of the parole board to allow you to serve out the remainder of your sentence.”

Carneal, who shot and killed three of his classmates and injured five others in West Paducah, was convicted in 1998 on three counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder and a count of first-degree burglary.

The full board took up the case after a smaller, two-person board heard testimony from Carneal and some of his victims last week.

Carneal's lawyer said he had undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia and was grappling with bullying and the transition to high school when he committed the shooting. Last week, he said he was still “hearing voices” after years of treatment and medication.

You can view the entire Kentucky Parole Board hearing below:

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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