Full parole board denies parole for 1997 Kentucky school shooter, will serve out life sentence

Posted at 9:23 AM, Sep 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 11:37:36-04

LA GRANGE, Ky. (LEX 18) — After serving nearly 25 years of his life sentence for the deadly 1997 school shooting at Heath High School in Paducah, Michael Carneal will have to serve out the rest of it.

The Kentucky Parole Board met September 26 to determine the parole eligibility for Carneal. He was convicted for his role in killing three classmates and injuring five others.

The final decision regarding Carneal’s parole eligibility was determined by majority vote. In accordance with KRS 439.340 (14)(a,b), Carneal will serve out his sentence.

The Kentucky Parole Board’s 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. The board is prohibited by law to discuss Monday's deliberations as they occurred in closed session.

During a two-person panel hearing last week, Carneal said he was still hearing voices. He says those were the same voices that told him to steal a pistol and shoot into a crowded high school lobby. He told the board that at times, those voices still return, but in a less violent form. Oftentimes, he said, they tell him to harm himself.

“Like to jump down the stairs,” he told the board members.

Carneal also explained why he feels he is worthy of being released from a life sentence. He told the panel that he feels regret and sadness over what he did.

Carneal was eligible for parole because in Kentucky when a minor receives a sentence of 25 years or more, parole eligibility is automatic once hitting that 25th year.