The mayor of Cold Spring discusses concerns that a Paducah school shooter would relocate there.
Cold Spring Mayor Angelo Penque issued a statement to the city on Wednesday in response to media allegations that Michael Carneal, who killed three pupils in a school shooting in Paducah in 1997, will move to Cold Spring with his parents if he is granted parole.
Photo by Michael Förtsch on Unsplash
Carneal was 14 years old at the time of the incident. Carneal's case was heard by the Kentucky Parole Board on Tuesday, but no majority judgment was reached. According to CNN, the board will meet again on Monday in an attempt to reach a conclusion.
Carneal, now 39, received a life sentence, although Kentucky law permits children to be considered for parole after 25 years. He is incarcerated at the Kentucky State Reformatory in Louisville.
Michael Carneal. Photo provided | KSP
According to CNN, if freed, Carneal would live with his parents in Cold Spring, according to the re-entry plan filed to the parole board. According to the proposal, he will also be referred to mental health programs in Cold Spring and Erlanger.
"Mr. Carneal, who was 14 at the time, was recorded as an adult and sentenced to the highest punishment allowed by law for a person his age," Penque said in a memo released Wednesday. "There was no leniency; he received the maximum penalty authorized under law."
Penque went on to warn that if Carneal is given parole, the city has received several calls from concerned neighbors.
"First and foremost, I would urge that Cold Spring locals respect Mr. Carneal's parents' privacy," Penque stated.
He went on to say that Carneal is entitled to a parole hearing after serving 25 years in prison.
"This was a right granted by our Commonwealth's laws and cannot be taken away, no matter how heinous the conduct," Penque added.
Penque said that there is no certainty that parole would be granted, and that press reports indicate that the Commonwealth Attorney's Office in McCracken County (Paducah) is opposed to parole.
"According to Mr. Carneal's inmate file, his mental health prognosis is 'bad,' and he confesses to hearing voices," Penque wrote. "These considerations make it difficult for the Release Board to grant parole while keeping public safety in mind." Because the original two members did not make a unanimous decision, the parole application was referred to the entire parole board; this does not imply that one member voted in support of parole."
Penque speculated that it may indicate a disagreement about when to enable additional consideration of parole in the future.
"While I appreciate that many in our community are worried," he said, "I wanted to offer clarification as to how the system works and that prosecutors and mental health specialists are ensuring that all evidence is presented to the Board." "Once again, I would urge that everyone respect the privacy of our community members."