Parole for Kentucky school shooter ‘scares’ former student

(WPSD/CNN NEWSOURCE) — “It’s scary.”

That’s how Keri Harris feels about the possibility of Michael Carneal getting out of jail. She was in band with Carneal, and was normally a part of the prayer group at Heath High School.

“I had stopped to talk to a stepsister, and I didn’t make it to prayer group that morning. So I had just gotten past the foyer when it all happened,” Harris said.

Carneal shot at the prayer group on Dec. 1, 1997, killing Nicole Hadley, Kayce Steger and Jessica James and injuring five other students.

“It’s not justified. It’s not justified at all,” Carneal said, via Zoom, to Kentucky Parole Board Chair Ladeidra Jones. “There’s no excuse for it at all. The reason it happened is like a combination of factors in my life. And when I look at it now, it’s because I was a coward.”

“Did you know that if you walked in a school and fired a handgun at multiple people and killed them, that that was wrong?” Jones asked Carneal. He promptly responded, “yes.”

Carneal claims voices in his head told him to carry out the shooting. He also said that as recently as two days ago, he was still hearing those voices. In terms of his mental health, Carneal says he sees a psychiatrist and a psychologist every three months along with taking three psychiatric medications.

“How can the board be certain that when you have these thoughts, with the violent imagery that you state you still have, how can we be certain that you will not act on those?” Jones asked Carneal.

“I haven’t acted on them in years, you know, decades,” Carneal responded. “That’s a start, just a start. I would hope that the parole board would see that I plan on continuing that and doing something positive in the long run with my life.”

Despite saying that, it took Carneal a full hour before he apologized for his actions.

“I would like to say to you, and to the victims, and the victims’ friends and families, and the whole community that I’m sorry for what I did. I know that it’s not going to change anything. It’s not going to make anything better, but I want them to know that I am sorry for what I did,” Carneal said to Jones.

For Harris, Carneal not apologizing until right before the deliberation says more than anything else Carneal said during the hearing.

“It took him that long, and it took a prompting for him to do it. But even when he did it, it was nothing,” Harris said while holding back tears. “Good emotion, bad emotion, there should be some emotion. If you’re truly sorry, and he truly realizes the magnitude of what he did, you would see it in his face, in his eyes, and there was nothing. No feeling.”

Categories: Featured, Local News, News