A convicted killer seeking parole admitted Tuesday that he still hears voices like the ones that told him to open fire on his Kentucky high school 25 years ago.

Michael Carneal was a 14-year-old freshman when he killed three and injured five of his Heath High School peers that had been congregating for a before-school prayer meeting in December 1997.

Carneal said that the voices had incited the violence, telling a court that he was, “hearing in my head to do certain things, but I should have known that stealing guns … was going to lead to something terrible.”

Now up for parole, Carneal says he’s apologetic for his rampage and has received extensive therapy but still hears the devilish voices.

The voices even told him to jump off the stairs two days earlier, he confessed.

Carneal’s inmate file lists his mental health prognosis as “poor” and states he still experiences paranoid thoughts with violent imagery, Parole Board Chair Ladeidra Jones said in the meeting.

Carneal told the board he has learned to ignore the voices and imagery, which he hasn’t acted on in many years.

 Heath High School shooting suspect Michael Carneal is escorted out of the McCracken County Courthouse after his arraignment in Paducah, Ky., Jan. 15, 1998.
Carneal was a 14-year-old freshman at the time of the 1997 shooting.
Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal via AP
Michael Carneal, 27, is escorted by a guard from the U.S. District Courthouse in Paducah, Ky., March 18, 2011.
Carneal admitted he still hears voices urging him to take violent actions.
Stephen Lance Dennee/The Paducah Sun via AP
A Heath High School student screams at seeing the scene of a shooting at the school where fellow student Michael Carneal opened fire, leaving three students dead and five wounded Dec. 1, 1997.
Three people were killed in the shooting and another five were left injured.
Steve Nagy/The Paducah Sun via AP

“It doesn’t have to be something grand,” he said. “Every little thing you do affects somebody. It could be listening to someone, carrying something. I would like to do something in the future that could contribute to society.”

Carneal was sentenced to life in prison but was guaranteed an opportunity for parole after 25 years, the maximum sentence permissible at the time given his age.

The two-person panel did not reach a unanimous decision and referred his case to the full state board, which will meet Monday to decide whether to grant his parole request, defer it to a later date, or rule Carneal must spend the remainder of his life in prison.

With Post Wires



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