courtroom

Kentucky Youth Agrees to Plea Deal for Campus Shooting, Deaths

The suspect in a 2018 shooting at Marshall County High School has pleaded guilty to murder.

Gabe Parker, now 18, has accepted a plea deal stemming from the deaths of two Marshall County High School students in 2018. He will plead guilty to two counts of murder, and more lenient assault charges. Parker was 15 years old when open fire in a common area of the school, killing Preston Cope and Bailey Holt, both 15.

Parker brought his stepfather’s Ruger MK 11 .22-caliber pistol to school, committing the shooting, which also injured several other students. A sentencing hearing will be held June 12, and if the court agrees to the plea deal, he will be sentenced for two counts of first-degree murder, eight counts of first-degree assault and six counts of second-degree assault.

Marshall County Circuit Judge James Jameson will have to approve of the deal. If approved, Parker will be sentenced to life in prison, but will be eligible for parole at age 35.

Defense attorney Tom Griffiths said the plea deal will allow Parker to “start the next phase of his life where he’s going to have to earn any chance to ever be on the outside of a prison again,” according to The Courier Journal.

"Gabe has a lot to atone for," defense attorney Tom Griffiths told The Courier Journal. "This plea allows him to start the next phase in his life where he's going to have to earn any chance to ever be on the outside of a prison ever again.”

The Courier Journal also reported that Marshall County Commonwealth’s attorney Dennis Foust said the families of the murdered victims felt the plea was the right way to go, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which would have delayed the trial by as much as a year. The families were ready for closure and the opportunity to begin healing. Faust had refused any deals in the past.

Mary Garrison Minyard, Parker’s mother, sobbed throughout the court proceeding, saying in the statement, “To every child in the school that day, to every parent and loved one of those children; to the school system and entire community, I’m so sorry.”

Griffiths said his client has never denied the shooting and has been ready to enter a guilty plea for a while. He said prolonging the case would have served nothing, especially if the ongoing pandemic would have forced the trial to be continued this year, or even into 2021.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is the Publisher of Security Today magazine.

Featured

  • Buffalo Public School District Modernizes Security With New Cameras NVRs

    i-PRO Co., Ltd. (formerly Panasonic Security), a provider of professional security solutions for surveillance and public safety, recently announced that the Buffalo Public School District (BPSD) has modernized its security footprint with i-PRO multi-sensor and 360° fisheye network cameras, and i-PRO NV300 network video recorders (NVR). The BPSD serves 28,000 K-12 students out of 70 facilities in western New York. Read Now

  • Lessons Learned from Past School Shootings

    Two experts are working together and collaborating on new ways school campuses can develop a proactive and comprehensive security plan. For three consecutive years, the U.S has had a record-high number of school shootings resulting in a repetitive cycle of grievances, anger, and frustration. The U.S. had 344 school shootings in 2023 which surpassed the record-breaking number of 308 school shootings in 2022 as reported by K-12 School Shooting Database. Read Now

  • Mother of Michigan School Shooter Found Guilty on Four Counts of Involuntary Manslaughter

    The mother of the teenager who killed four students in an Oxford, Michigan school has been found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter because of the shooting. That’s according to a report from CNN. Read Now

  • Utah State Legislature Funds Gun Detection Technology and Incident Management System in All Public K-12 Schools

    ZeroEyes, the creators of the only AI-based gun detection video analytics platform that holds the US Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act Designation, and AEGIX Global, a Utah-based provider of industry-leading critical incident management services, recently announced that the Utah State Board of Education has approved a contract to provide the joint solution for all Utah public K-12 schools, including charter schools. Read Now

Webinars