LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Gabe Parker, the teenager who admitted to opening fire inside a Kentucky school in 2018, killing two students, was sentenced Friday to life in prison.
Parker had been indicted on two counts of murder and 14 counts of assault after he opened fire with a handgun at Marshall County High School shortly before 8 a.m. on Jan. 23, 2018. Bailey Holt and Preston Ryan Cope, both 15-year-old students, died in the attack. Police say Parker, now 18, confessed less than an hour after the shooting.
Before announcing the sentence, Judge Jamie Jameson passionately spoke to the courtroom, calling Parker's actions a "senseless murder of two individuals."
"There's no justice to be had here," Jameson, with tears in his eyes, said to the victims' families, who also were crying. "We can't give you your children back."
Jameson said Parker will have the opportunity for parole but not before serving 20 years of his life sentence.
During the sentencing hearing, Holt's mother, Secret Holt, told Parker that she has “been given a life sentence of emptiness and sadness because of what you’ve done to my family.” She called Parker a "demon' and a "worthless waste of space."
"How dare you take her life, and why didn't you just take your own that day?" she said, fighting back tears.
Her husband, Bailey's father, read a prepared statement while addressing Parker, but after a few minutes, the shooter looked down.
"Look at us!" Bailey's mother shouted at him. "Look at us in the face!
Cope's father, Brian Cope, said he misses “watching him grow up to be the fine young man he would have become. Missing out on first dances, academic awards, scholarships, driving for the first time, graduation, marriage and grandchildren. I long for those days of playing catch in the front yard with Preston. He worked so hard at baseball and he just wanted to be a good teammate.”
Other witnesses testified to the loss that Parker caused the community.
"He has wronged us deeper than anyone could have ever imagined," testified one woman, whose son was shot by Parker but survived. "I've read that he doesn't believe in God, but Mr. Parker, make no mistake: Some day, you'll stand before God and answer for what you've done.
"I hope and pray you can some day change and find a positive purpose for your life."
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