Convicted school shooter Michael Carneal’s hearing in front of the Kentucky Parole Board began Monday morning, some of his living victims arguing he should serve out the rest of his life sentence for murder, in prison. Photo courtesy of Kentucky Department of Corrections
Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Convicted school shooter Michael Carneal's hearing in front of the Kentucky Parole Board began Monday morning, with some of his living victims arguing he should serve out the rest of his life sentence for murder in prison.
Victims of the 1997 school shooting in West Paducah, Ky., testified in front of the parole board Monday, while Carneal, 39, set to make his case for release Tuesday.
"How could anyone say with confidence he could do that (look after himself) for the rest of his life at the age of 39? What if stressors in this new world begin to weigh on him? How sure are we that he would be able to handle this new world?," Missy Jenkins Smith told the two-member panel, while fighting back tears from her wheelchair during the remote hearing.
Jenkins detailed her own daily struggles using a wheelchair, calling her own life sentence.
"I can't take a hike in the woods with my boys. I won't be able to stand and dance with them at their weddings."
Smith was injured when Carneal opened fire on classmates at Heath High School in West Paducah, Ky., on Dec. 1, 1997. Three girls died and five other students were injured during the shooting.
Then 14, Carneal was armed with a .22-caliber Ruger and also had two shotguns and two rifles in his possession. The guns had been stolen on Thanksgiving Day from a neighbor's home.
He was convicted and is currently 24 years and 9 months into a life sentence, being served at the Kentucky State Reformatory.
The board has the option to grant parole or defer the decision for a period of up to 60 months. If board members Ladeidra Jones and Larry Brock can't agree on a decision, the case would be referred back to the full board, which can defer the sentence for 10 years or order that Carneal spend the rest of his life in prison.
Jenkins, who once met with Carneal in prison, argued he should never be released.
"Continuing his life in prison is the only way his victims can feel comfortable and safe without being haunted by the 'what ifs.'"