Michael Carneal's victims and families talk about his request for a new trial - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Michael Carneal's victims and families talk about his request for a new trial

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Andrew Hadley & Christine Gooch Andrew Hadley & Christine Gooch
Missy Jenkins Smith Missy Jenkins Smith
Kelly Hard Alsip Kelly Hard Alsip
Michael Carneal Michael Carneal

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - At least five families directly impacted by the 1997 Heath High School shooting were in the courtroom Thursday bringing to the surface memories they had long ago tried to lay to rest. WAVE 3's Elizabeth Donatelli spoke with several of them and has their reaction.

"It would just be nice for him to be able to understand that he's done something wrong and he has to pay for it and let the rest of us get on with our lives," said Christina Gooch.

"It's very confusing as to why this is even being brought back up," Andrew Hadley said.

Christina and Andrew's sister Nicole was shot and killed when she was just 14.

"I'm very frustrated with the fact that this is even allowable," said Kelly Hard Alsip, one of Michael Carneal's shooting victims. She was shot in the left shoulder, but survived the attack.

"I'm just really confused how, after almost 11 years, this is all being brought up again," said Missy Jenkins Smith. Her injuries from the shooting left her paralyzed, and she is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

Carneal admitted responsibility for all of the shootings, which has the victims astounded that he could be granted a new trial.

"I'm just kind of still wondering why this is even an issue now when back then he already said that he was guilty and that was it," said Smith.

Carneal's latest request centers on new questions about his mental stability at the time - whether he was mentally ill or insane, and thus incompetent to plead guilty. But the victims and their families aren't buying it.

"Psychosis is something that can be easily portrayed be it there or not," said Alsip.

"I mean if I had 10 years to sit there and think about what's going on I'm sure I would think of quite a few things that would back up ... how to get out of it," Hadley said.

"Knowing him before, I never thought he was mentally ill then and I just don't think he is now," Smith said.

Smith has spoken with Carneal personally within the last year and says she doesn't think things have changed.

"Speaking to him was just like speaking to anybody else. He answered every one of my questions that I had and he never once to me, I thought, was mentally ill," Smith said.

But it is up to the Kentucky Supreme Court to ultimately decide if the case should be given another look. The justices are expected to rule sometime in the next few months.