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June 2012
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Heath shooter files notice of appeal

BY ANDREA MOORE amoore@paducahsun.com

Heath High School shooter Michael Carneal has filed a notice of appeal after McCracken Circuit Court Judge Craig Clymer denied his motion to vacate his conviction and judgment.  

Carneal, now 31, who opened fire on a group of classmates the morning of Dec. 1, 1997, argued that his counsel was ineffective for advising him to make an Alford plea during the original proceedings. He further contended that the trial court was wrong for accepting his plea.

An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain innocence while acknowledging there would be enough evidence to obtain a conviction at trial.

Clymer denied Carneal's motion to overturn his conviction and judgment in April and also denied Carneal's motion for additional factual findings or to alter or amend in May.  

Carneal has been in prison since 1998, when he pleaded guilty to killing three students and injuring five others. He has sought state post-conviction relief in 2004 and federal habeas corpus relief in 2009.

Carneal is serving his sentence at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange. He will be eligible for parole in 2023 under terms of his plea agreement.

Contact Andrea Moore, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8684.

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