Kentucky school shooter, up for parole after 25 years, says he still hears voices

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The school shooter who killed several students at his high school in Kentucky 25 years ago said Tuesday that he still hears voices like those who instructed him to shoot at classmates.

Michael Corniel was 14 when he killed three Heath High School students and injured five others during the December 1997 shooting Paduka, Kentucky, The shooting, which took place as students gathered for a pre-school prayer meeting, ended when Corniel laid down his weapon and the principal took him to the school’s office.

Corniel, who is now on parole, told a court that the voices he was hearing caused the violence.

He added that he was “listening to do a few things on my mind, but I should have known that stealing guns … would turn into something terrible.”

Gunman UP to Parole for 25 Years After Fatal Kentucky School Shooting

Michael Corniel, who killed several students at his high school in Kentucky 25 years ago, said he still hears voices instructing him to fire at classmates.
(Stephen Lance Denny/The Paduka Sun via AP, file)

The convicted murderer said he was apologetic for the shooting and received extensive treatment. However, Corniel still hears voices in his head.

He told that only two days ago, voices told him to jump down the stairs.

Parole Board Chair Ledidra Jones said in a hearing Tuesday that, according to Corniel’s prisoner file, her mental health prognosis is “poor” and she still experiences paranoid thoughts with violent imagery.

Corniel told the board that it had learned to ignore voices and fantasies and had not acted on them for years.

Michael Corniel was 14 when he killed three Heath High School students and injured five others in a December 1997 shooting near Paduka, Kentucky.

Michael Corniel was 14 when he killed three Heath High School students and injured five others in a December 1997 shooting near Paduka, Kentucky.

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“It doesn’t have to be something grand,” he said. “Every little thing you do affects someone. It can be listening to someone, taking something. I want to do something in the future that can contribute to society.”

He is up for parole because his life sentence guarantees an opportunity for parole after 25 years, which is the maximum sentence permissible for his age at the time.

students killed in firing There were 14-year-old Nicole Headley, 17-year-old Jessica James and 15-year-old Kays Steiger.

This screenshot of a Zoom video hearing shows Michael Corniel at the Kentucky State Reformatory on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 in La Grange, Ky.

This screenshot of a Zoom video hearing shows Michael Corniel at the Kentucky State Reformatory on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 in La Grange, Ky.

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The two-person panel did not reach a unanimous decision and referred its case to the full state board.

The state board will meet on Monday to determine whether to accept Corniel’s parole request, adjourn it to a later date or require that he spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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