The Daily Telegraph

Gunman ‘still hears voices’ that told him to attack pupils

- By Our Foreign Staff

A MAN who killed three students in a school shooting 25 years ago told a US parole panel yesterday that he still hears voices like the ones that told him to steal a pistol and fire it at his classmates.

The two-person panel hearing Michael Carneal’s testimony deferred a decision on whether to release him until next week, when the state’s full parole board is scheduled to meet.

That could either grant Carneal his freedom or decide that he must spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Carneal was 14 when he shot Nicole Hadley, 14, Jessica James, 17, and Kayce Steger, 15, during a morning prayer group at Heath High School, near Paducah, Kentucky, on Dec 1 1997.

He was given the maximum sentence at the time for someone his age – life in prison with the possibilit­y of parole.

Yesterday, in the shadow of the Uvalde school massacre and in a nation disgusted by mass shootings, Carneal, now 39, tried to convince the parole panel he deserves to be freed.

Speaking via videolink from prison, he told the panel: “I was hearing in my head to do certain things, but I should have known that stealing guns ... was going to lead to something terrible.”

He had been receiving therapy and taking psychiatri­c medication in prison but admitted that he still hears voices.

Ladeidra Jones, the parole board chairman, told Carneal that the panel members had not reached a unanimous decision and were referring his case to the full board. Only it has the power to order him to serve his full sentence without another chance for parole.

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