Gunman up for parole 25 years after deadly Kentucky school shooting

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Michael Carnell was 14 years old when he opened fire on his high school classmates in Kentucky in 1997 and is now ready for parole.

Karnell killed three Heath High School students and wounded five others in a shooting near Paducah, Kentucky, in December 1997 during a prayer meeting before school. The shooting ended when Karnell laid down his gun and the principal took him to the school office.

Now, he is on parole because his life sentence guarantees a chance of parole after 25 years, which is the maximum sentence allowed at that time for a person his age.

Carnell, now 39, will have a conditional hearing this week.

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Michael Carnell was 14 years old when he opened fire on his high school classmates in Kentucky in 1997, and he is now on parole.

Missy Jenkins Smith, one of the victims, tracked the amount of time Carnell spent before he was eligible for parole.

“Twenty-five years seemed so long, so far away,” she remembers when he was sentenced.

Jenkins Smith was 15 years old when Carnell, whom she considered a friend, shot her. She is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair to get around.

“I think,” 10 years have passed. How many more years? ‘ On the 20th anniversary, I thought, ‘It’s coming.’

She doesn’t think Carnell should be free. She worries that he won’t be able to handle life outside of prison and could harm others, and doesn’t think it’s appropriate for him to live a normal life after what he did.

“For him to have a chance at 39,” Jenkins Smith said. “People marry at 39. They have children.” “It is not appropriate for him to live a normal life that the three girls he killed will not live.”

The Students killed in shooting They were 14-year-old Nicole Hadley, 17-year-old Jessica James and 15-year-old Casey Steiger.

Karnell killed three Heath High School students and wounded five others in a shooting near Paducah, Kentucky, in December 1997 during a pre-school prayer meeting.

Karnell killed three Heath High School students and wounded five others in a shooting near Paducah, Kentucky, in December 1997 during a pre-school prayer meeting.

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Jenkins visited Smith Carnell in prison in 2007, and he apologized to her. She said she forgave him but he has to pay for his actions.

“A lot of people think that absolves him of the consequences, but I don’t,” she said.

A parole hearing is scheduled to begin in Karnial on Monday with testimony from those injured in the shooting and relatives of those killed. Jenkins-Smith said she knows only one victim who believes Carnell should be given some form of supervised release, which would be less restrictive than imprisonment but not unrestricted freedom.

The students killed in the shooting were 14-year-old Nicole Hadley, 17-year-old Jessica James and 15-year-old Casey Steiger.

The students killed in the shooting were 14-year-old Nicole Hadley, 17-year-old Jessica James and 15-year-old Casey Steiger.

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The Kentucky State Penitentiary at La Grange He will hear Carnell make his case.

The parole hearing will be conducted via video call virtually. Jenkins-Smith said she would position her camera, so that her entire body could be seen to show the conditional board her wheelchair.

She said it would be “a reminder that everyone who experienced this impact 25 years ago is still dealing with it their whole life.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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