On Monday, the Kentucky Parole Board ruled that 39-year-old Michael Carneal, the man convicted in the 1997 school shooting that took the life of three students, should remain in prison for the rest of his life. The unanimous ruling from the seven-member board means that Carneal will never be eligible for parole consideration again.

Carneal was 14 years old when he injured five people along with killing three in the shooting at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky. He testified to two members of the board last week that he still “heard voices” in his head, similar to the ones that led to him opening fire on the high school on Dec. 1, 1997.  However at last week’s hearing, Carneal said while he knew right from wrong when he committed the shootings, he blamed his mental health condition for his actions.

Carneal had served nearly 25 years before his last parole hearing. The living victims of the shooting, including one who was paralyzed, testified in front of the board last week as well. Parole Board Chair Ladeidra Jones told Carneal that due to the seriousness of the crime” and because lives were taken, “it is the decision of the parole board that you will serve out your sentence.”

Editorial credit: Dmitrijs Kaminskis /

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