A victim, who was paralyzed for more than half her life after a fellow student shot her in a 1997 school massacre, has criticized authorities for not being immediately denied parole following a hearing this week.
Michael Corniel, 39, spoke in front of two members of the Kentucky State Parole Board on Tuesday. He is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting three Heath High School classmates and injuring five others in West Padua, Kentucky, when he was 14.
Missy Jenkins Smith, 40, was one of the injured. Sitting in her wheelchair, she testified to the emotional victim via video in front of board members the day before Corneal’s own appearance. He told the board that he was on three psychiatric medications but still heard voices and “did not pay attention” to his specific diagnosis.
Judging by her testimony, Ms Jenkins Smith was not impressed by her argument and shared in a Facebook post on Tuesday that she did not think “things went well for Michael today.”
“I’m surprised the board couldn’t come to a unanimous decision, but I’m confident the whole board will do the right thing next week. I see no evidence that he’s better than today after 25 years, or that he put much effort into preparing for this hearing.” and I think the board has seen it too,” she wrote. âI think he is working and is safe in jail, and that is why we are out of here. Let’s keep it that way. ,
Board chairman Ladidra N. Jones told during Corniel’s testimony that parole officers had received letters from his legal advisor and family, but nothing from the prisoner himself. Asked why on Tuesday, he said he felt that the information sent by others contained everything.
Ms Jones reported that her mental health prognosis remained “poor” even after decades of treatment and she continued to experience “crazy thoughts coupled with violent visual imagery”.
Corniel acknowledges this and tells the board that while he still hears voices, he has learned to control his actions and seek help. He appeared nervous and restless during the hour-long interview with Ms Jones and her fellow board member Larry Brock.
Ms Jones and fellow board member Larry Brock heard Corniel’s testimony, but were unable to reach a unanimous decision on parole. The full parole board will hear the matter on Monday.
Corniel told the board on Tuesday that, at age 14, he knew right wrong, but blamed the massacre on a “combination of factors.”
“I was hearing things, and I was extremely suspicious,” he told the board. âAnd I had been feeling, isolated and isolated for years, and I think when I started developing mental health problems, it fed into that â and thusâ¦ Made the health problems worse, the years I spent feeling like it.”
She told the board: “I was 14 at the time, and I had never really experienced anything in life. I didn’t know exactly what I would do.”
Corneal fatally shot 14-year-old Nicole Hadley; Jessica James, 17; and Kays Steiger, 15. Ms Jenkins Smith, one of the five injured, considered Corniel a friend and knew him quite well, although she told the board that he should remain in prison.
“I want you to consider how long she has been cared for by others,” Missy, now a married mother of two, told the board. âFrom the age of 14 to his present age of 39, he did not have the responsibility of taking care of himself and is being looked after for the last 25 years.
“How can one say with confidence that he can do this for the rest of his life?” He asked before adding: “There are too many ‘what ifs’ – to believe that he will be responsible enough to take care of himself and not let anyone harm him again because of his mental illness? Continuing with their lives in prison is the only way victims can feel comfortable and safe without being haunted. ,
Also on Tuesday, Corniel told the board that his sister and parents, with whom he would initially remain on any release, were supportive and had promised to take him to any doctor’s appointments. He said he was on three psychiatric drugs and would continue to receive outside care when released.
âI think I can do pretty well there,â Corniel said, adding that he would be satisfied with a job in fast food or sanitation or whatever, really. “I think I could have been a good fit for the community. I feel like I could benefit people as a whole.”
One of his victims, Hollan Holm, who was shot in the head by Corniel and still has scars on his hair, argued for the release of his assailant on Monday.
“I was still a kid,” said Mr. Holm, who was 14 at the time of shooting and will turn 40 in December. “Everyone in the lobby of Heath High School that day was a kid, including Michael Corniel. It took me 25 years to fully realize how little I knew that day – how much of a life I had not lived and how much I could think of and my own How far he was from the adult in capacity.
Corniel further stated that he feels responsible for the plague of mass shootings that followed his actions. While he was not the first school shooter, Columbine quickly followed in 1999 â and anchored the crimes as a national terror. Corniel said he committed suicide and was admitted to the hospital upon hearing the news.
The family of Nicole Headley, who was fatally shot by Corneal, argued strongly against her release on Monday.
“Not only did he kill Nicole, but he also killed Kays and Jessis and tried to kill five more students,” Chuck Headley told members of the parole board. “I believe that the killer should never be let out of jail and serve the rest of his life sentence.”
Gwen Hadley said she “wouldn’t see Nicole reaching her goals, getting married, having kids, and becoming an aunt.”
âWe as a family remember him at all family events. Nicole will always be remembered,â she said.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /