The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments today at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. Among the cases were the Commonwealth vs. Michael Carneal, the student who plead guilty to murder and attempted murder in the Heath High School shooting in 1997.
Carneal’s attorneys want his guilty plea thrown out, on the grounds their client was not mentally competent to enter such a plea. Although he was deemed competent at the time of his trial, Carneal has since told his doctors he heard voices in his head that he calls ‘the Danes’ telling him to get revenge for being bullied at school. His attorney, David Harshaw, says Carneal never mentioned those voices until well after his conviction.
“He has never, until recently, meaning 2004, spoke about the Danes, spoke about this angel named Goose that came down while he was asleep in his living room,” says Harshaw. “He has never spoken about how the command hallucination at the time of the crime caused him to do what he did.”
Attorneys for the Commonwealth said that although there was no official competency hearing, the hearing had been waived in lieu of expert testimony that assured the court Carneal was mentally competent at the time.