As I mentioned in my previous post, Gabe Parker was scheduled to be sentenced today for the 2018 school shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, The shooting left 15-year-old Bailey Nicole Holt and 15-year-old Preston Ryan Cope dead and over a dozen other students injured.
Parker’s motive for committing the shooting was said to be that he wanted to see how students, police, and society would react to the shooting.
Earlier today, Parker was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences with eligibility for parole in 20 years. He was also given a 70-year sentence on assault charges for the students he wounded.
One of those students testified at Parker’s sentencing to share his story about Parker shooting him in the face that left the student with a shattered jaw, permanent damage to one of his arteries, and bullet fragments still lodged in his body.
“If you can make that kind of decision to start taking the lives or attempt to take the lives of others, then you’re old enough to sit in jail and pay the consequences of your actions.”
One of the parents of Bailey Nicole Holt had this to say to Parker…
“I hope prison is hell for you. I hope you never make it to face a parole board. But if you do, I or a member of my family will be there. …I hope you rot in hell. Was your experiment worth it?”
Parker reportedly couldn’t even speak in his own defense and had his attorney speak for him…
“I have gotten to know him over the last two years and what I believe is that he was a child who had horribly lost his way. And one day, I hope that he finds it, Judge, I really do, because he has a lot to atone for,”
Lost his way? Did he ever even have a way that wasn’t cold and calculated violence? He saw his plan to murder as many people as possible as nothing more than a statistical analysis.
My biggest fear, in this case, is that social attitudes will change so much in 20 years that he’ll be granted parole on his first try. The families who are mourning their dead children and the victims who have wounds that will last them forever do not need to be further reminded of this tragedy by a series of appeals and parole hearings. Unfortunately, due to Parker’s age, the Commonwealth of Kentucky disagrees.