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Teen charged as an adult in Kentucky school shootings

December 12, 1997
Web posted at: 1:36 p.m. EST (1836 GMT)

PADUCAH, Kentucky (CNN) -- A Kentucky grand jury on Friday indicted 14-year-old Michael Carneal as an adult, for murder, attempted murder and burglary in the Heath High School shootings that left three students dead and five wounded.

The nine-count indictment, read by McCracken County Circuit Judge Jeff Hines, charges Carneal with three counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, and one count of burglary.

An arraignment has been scheduled for January 16. After the arraignment, sources say a pre-trial conference would be held, allowing for motions to be heard. Carneal's attorneys are expected to ask for a change of venue to another Kentucky county, because of the publicity surrounding the case.


The Paducah Sun reported Friday that prosecutors want DNA tests conducted on ear plugs found at the scene. Witnesses say Carneal was wearing ear plugs at the time of the shooting, but prosecutors want to see if the DNA on the evidence may match someone else who may have known about the shooting before it happened. The Sun reported Friday that police took a blood sample from Carneal on Wednesday.

Police said Carneal, who has confessed to the shooting, carried 600 rounds of ammunition and five guns -- including two shotguns, two rifles and a pistol -- into the lobby of his school on December 1.

High school lobby
Lobby where the shooting occurred   

Using the pistol, Carneal opened fire on a group of about 50 students who had just finished conducting their daily prayer. Police believe Carneal stole the weapons from a neighbor's home on Thanksgiving Day.

The commonwealth's prosecutor has said he'll pursue the maximum penalty of life in prison, which would mean Carneal, if convicted, would have to serve 25 years before he could be considered for parole.

Doctors said on Thursday that one of the victims, Missy Jenkins, will probably be a paraplegic for life. She turns 16 on Christmas Eve.


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