Michael Carneal seeks new competency hearing from Kentucky Supreme Court
The boy who killed three classmates and wounded five others is explaining what led him to open fire ten years ago.
Michael Carneal's attorney wants the Kentucky Supreme Court to take a new look at the Heath High School shooting in Paducah.
This hearing Thursday brought back a lot of bad memories for shooting victims who attended the high court hearing.
Carneal, who was just 14 when he opened fire, claimed students who bullied him caused the shootings. But now he is telling a different story he hopes could lead to his release.
But as one shooting victim, Kelly Hard Alsip, puts it, "They should not listen to anything he has to say. He has had a lot of time to brew and he's had a lot of time to be coached."
Alsip was one of the five wounded when young Michael Carneal opened fire on a prayer meeting at Heath High School in Paducah. David Harshaw, Carneal's attorney, says of that day, "He believed the delusions were real and the delusions told him not to talk."
Harshaw says Carneal never fully explained his actions because he was insane -- tormented by voices and visions which ordered him to kill: "He is sicker than we ever thought he was, and he is not competent and he was, in fact, criminally insane."
Harshaw told the Supreme Court that is the conclusion of two mental health experts who found Carneal competent in 1998. Harshaw says Carneal's guilty plea is not valid since he was insane when he made it.
But Assistant Attorney General David Smith counters, "I don't know how many times and how many different ways he said it -- Michael Carneal was completely competent, competent as he could be."
Smith told the high court Carneal's life sentence should stand -- that five experts found Carneal understood what he did and he knew what he was doing when he pleaded guilty and accepted a life sentence.
The Supreme Court must now decide whether Carneal deserves a new competency hearing and, possibly, a trial.
Christina Gooch, the sister of one of Carneal's victims, says, it would, "Just be nice for him to just be able to understand that he did something wrong and he has to pay for it and let the rest of us get on with our lives."