Micheal Carneal: Heath High school shooter to get parole after 25 years, survivor says 'not right for him have normal life'
Carneal was 14 years old when he gunned down 3 of his classmates and injured five others on December 1, 1997, and later surrendered himself
WEST PADUCAH, KENTUCKY: The 1997 Kentucky school shooting rampage is back in news as Michael Adam Carneal, 39, is now granted an opportunity for parole after 25 years. At age 14, Carneal gunned down three of his classmates at Heath High School and injured five others in West Paducah on December 1, 1997, and later surrendered himself and the weapon to the school principal. The 14-year-old was serving a life sentence and was booked for three counts of murder for the shooting of his peers Nicole Hadley, 17, Jessica James, 17 and Kayce Steger, 15, and five counts of attempted murder.
Carneal is now scheduled for a two-day parole hearing which begins Monday, September 19, after 25 years, the maximum prison sentence permitted for someone his age. The hearing will be conducted via Zoom, the two parts of the hearing will first conduct testimonies from the victims who survived the shooting and close relatives of those who were killed and in the second part, Carneal will talk to the parole board who will then make a decision about his freedom. One of the victims after hearing his parole news said, "It is not right for him to possibly have a normal life."
On the day of the ghastly killing, Carneal rode to Heath High School with his sister and arrived at approximately 7:45 am. He placed a semi-automatic loaded rifle inside a blanket as he passed off as a school art project he was working on. He then allegedly fired ten rounds fatally shooting his fellow peers. Micheal is believed to have dropped the gun of his own accord before surrendering it to the school principal.
Missy Jenkins Smith was one of the victims shot in the bloodshed. The incident left her paralyzed and in a wheelchair. She now alleges Carneal should not be freed and claims that he is still a menace to society. "For him to have a chance at 39. People get married at 39. They have children. It is not right for him to possibly have a normal life," she told Daily Mail.
Missy Jenkins Smith said she considered Carneal as a friend. The two had been together in the school's marching band. In 2007, Smith had visited Carneal in the prison and said he apologized to her and she forgave him but she still believes he could be a threat if he's let out of jail and is counting down the days till he would be eligible for parole.
During Monday's hearing which will be conducted through a video call, Smith plans to have the camera facing her so the parole board can see her wheelchair, "a reminder to everyone who experienced that impact 25 years ago is still dealing with it, for the rest of their lives. A lot of people think that exonerates him from consequences, but I don't think so," Smith said. Nevertheless, Smith pointed out that only one victim believes that Carneal should be let out of jail but under some type of supervised release.