Paducah school shooter granted competence hearing

The Kentucky Court of appeals has granted the motion of Michael Carneal, the convicted Paducah school shooter, for a hearing to determine if he was competent at the time he pleaded guilty to shooting and killing three students in Heath High School.

Carneal says he was hearing voices at the time of his plea, which told him to plead guilty and to not talk about the shooting of his fellow classmates.

The court ruled that his motion was timely filed and sufficient grounds were presented to justify a competence hearing request and that the trial court should review the possibility of a retrospective competence hearing.
The court held:  “…minority and mental incompetence, are common grounds for tolling limitations periods, and RCr 11.42 itself gives no indication that its limitations period is meant to be an exception.?
 
The court returned the case to the trial court to review the ability to conduct a retrospective competence review:
“If a retrospective competency determination is not feasible, or if it is determined at the hearing that Carneal was not competent to enter his guilty plea, then he shall be permitted to withdraw the plea and, if  competent to do so, either plead again, or proceed to trial.” 

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