The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED Nearly 25 years after a shooting at McCracken County High School killed three students and injured five others, Michael Corniel is being considered for parole this week. Corniel, 39, has been in prison for more than two decades after pleading guilty to three counts of murder and other charges, agreeing to serve life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. (The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED) But in the aftermath of his sentencing, Corniel attempted to vacate his guilty plea, arguing that he was not mentally capable at the time to plead guilty. Those attempts were unsuccessful, and Corniel continues to wait in state prison for his parole eligibility date. (The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED) Here's what we know about Corniel's court case, and how state and federal courts have responded to her efforts to overturn her guilty plea since the fatal 1997 shooting. The fatal shooting inside Heath High School began on Thursday, November 27, 1997, when he broke into a neighbor's garage and stole firearms and ammunition from the home. Additionally, Corniel told members of the parole board that he had taken a firearm from his father. The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED When he arrived at the school on December 1, 1997, Corniel said he had a pistol in his bag and several shotguns wrapped in blankets. He told interrogators that the objects hidden in the blanket were for "an English project", which he accepted as an answer. "I went to the lobby and I took them off, I hung around for a while and I stood there and then I went and took the gun out of the bag and put it in front of me," he said. "I can't remember whether I fired the gun or how many times I fired. The next thing I remember is people lying on the ground." He said during the hearing that he had the idea of carrying guns to empty schools or shopping malls and shooting them. He also said that his intention was to "shock people". (The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED) 14-year-old Nicole Hadley, 17-year-old Jessica James, and 15-year-old Kays Steiger were killed in the shooting. Among the injured was Missy Jenkins Smith, who was paralyzed after Corniel shot her and used a wheelchair. Other victims included Shelley Schaberg, Kelly Hard Elsip, Holan Holm, and Craig Keene. life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, Why the Kentucky School Shooter Has a Chance for Parole Corniel was convicted of three counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, and first-degree robbery on December 21, 1998. He pleaded guilty but was mentally ill and agreed to the "maximum legal" sentence: life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, according to court records. According to court records, during the court proceedings leading up to the sentencing, Corniel was ordered to participate in a mental health assessment. According to court records, he claimed that he heard voices before and on the day of the shooting. He had originally pleaded not guilty, but his lawyer pleaded not guilty to all charges but was mentally ill on October 5, 1998. ( The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED) According to court documents, at the time, state prosecutors objected to it, citing "enormous" protests from victims. Five days later, on October 10, 1998, prosecutors returned with a motion to allow Corniel to plead guilty but mentally ill, provided that Corniel accepted the maximum sentence. Corniel agreed to the deal and pleaded guilty through the "Alford plea". He was sentenced on December 16, 1998. As a juvenile, he was placed in the Juvenile Justice Department until he turned 18 on November 1, 2001. He was then transferred to another department of the Department of Corrections. Shooter's lawyer: Corniel was not mentally fit to plead guilty. ( The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED) At the time of his initial court proceedings, Corniel underwent several mental health evaluations by court-appointed psychiatrists. Dr. Diane Shetki and Dr. Davey Cornell noted unusual patterns of behavior up to the shooting. Corniel said he had "stupid thoughts" that "there were people under the bed who were going to bite me," according to court records. The A - Z Guide Of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED In 1998, both doctors concluded that Corniel had features of schizotypal personality disorder, but that Corniel's status fluctuated over time and was not fully cooperating in describing his symptoms. According to court records, doctors said it was possible that he was in the early stages of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. "Dr. Cornell eventually concluded that, based on the information he was able to obtain, Cornell was mentally ill, but that his mental illness had not progressed to a level to reduce criminal liability or competition.( The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED) required to negate the level required for this," a lawyer for Cornell wrote in appeals in federal court. However, when Corniel turned 18 in 2001, he was transferred from a juvenile facility to an institution run by the Department of Corrections. Here, they gave him strong psychic medicine. Court documents say this allowed her to be more aware of her symptoms and open up to doctors during her evaluation. In 2003, the doctors who originally evaluated the corneal concluded that he suffered from much more paranoid delusions than originally thought and, due to paranoid schizophrenia, lacked judgment about the seriousness of his crimes and had acted in response to command hallucinations. ( The Secret of HE ACCEPTED A PLEA BUT FOR YEARS A KY SCHOOL SHOOTER TRIED TO GET HIS CONVICTION VACATED) According to court records, he was unable to resist. According to court records, doctors said this new evidence could support the insanity defense. This prompted Corniel to file a motion on 1 June 2004, to vacate the earlier sentence on the grounds that new evidence relating to his mental health had been discovered, leading him and his lawyer to believe that He was not fit or unable to stand. prosecute or plead guilty. The McCracken County Circuit Court dismissed the motion on June 30, 2004, saying it had not been filed in time. According to court records, Cornell appealed to the State Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals said the motion was filed in time and there were questions about his ability to plead guilty, court records show. McCracken's Circuit Court decision was overturned. That same year, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the Kentucky Court of Appeals' decision to give Corneal a rehearsal. They found that Corniel and his lawyer had not filed their post-convict action in respect of their claim of incapacity in time. In 2008, after much back-and-forth between attorneys and the courts, the Kentucky Supreme Court rejected Corniel's proposal. According to court records, Corniel used his final appeal in June 2013, when he filed suit in federal court. According to court records, that appeal was denied, and Corniel continued to await his parole eligibility date at the Kentucky State Reformatory. What will the Parole Board consider when deciding on Carniel's release? As of this month, Corniel has served 24 years and nine months in prison, making him eligible for parole in November. Corniel's case came up for consideration by the parole board this week. His parole hearing began on Monday morning in front of state parole board chairman Ledidre Jones and member Larry Brock. After a two-day hearing process that included testimony from victims, victims' families, and Corniel himself, James and Brock referred their case to the full parole board, which meets at 8:30 p.m. Monday. M. Ed Monahan, a retired public defender from Kentucky, told the Herald-Leader that it's typical for a parole board to consider several factors when analyzing a case. They will assess what the person did, the degree of their remorse, and whether or not they believe the person will commit additional crimes, among other factors. In Corniel's case, his age at the time of the crime may play a role. "I would expect the fact that someone was underage to be a factor," Monahan said. "It is very clear that the frontal lobes of adolescents are not fully formed until their 20s, and this is where the brain's decision-making and reflective decision-making functions occur." The Parole Board may decide to grant carnal parole or to adjourn its case. If a prisoner has adjourned his case, the parole board may decide to delay it for a certain amount of time, meaning that Corniel will have to wait that time before being considered for parole again. The parole board could also grant Corniel full relief, Monahan said, meaning he would have to serve out the rest of his sentence.