Kentucky high school shooter sentenced to 2 life terms

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Kentucky high school shooter sentenced to 2 life terms
The shooting at Marshall County High School in January 2018 killed two students and injured others. The gunman had pleaded guilty.
Image: Gabriel Parker
Marshall County High School shooter Gabriel Parker, 18, stands in the courtroom at his sentencing in Marshall County Circuit Court in Benton, Ky. on June 12, 2020.Dave Thompson / The Paducah Sun via AP

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (KFVS) – Gabe Parker, the teenager who pleaded guilty to shooting an killing two classmates and wounding more than a dozen other at the Marshall County High School, was sentenced to life in prison.

A Marshall County judge sentenced Parker at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 12 for the January 2018 deadly school shooting. He will have the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 20 years in prison.

Victims and their families made statements on Friday afternoon.

Brian and Teresa Cope, parents of Preston Cope, gave statements. Brian Cope said, in part, “the pain I feel, innocence was lost. Our first born was taken from us.”

He went on to say, “I see pure evil, I pray that he [Parker] never gets out of jail.”

Jasen and Secret Hold, parents of Bailey Holt, addressed Parker directly.

“It’s unbearable to think about, some days I’m still not able to breathe,” Secret Holt said. “Our lives have forever changed. Life on earth is unimaginable.”

The number of people allowed in the Marshall County Courtroom during the sentencing was reduced to 1/3 capacity due to COVID-19.

The case

Parker was charged with two counts of murder and 14 counts of assault.

He faces 70 years in prison for the assault charges to run concurrent with a life sentence for the murder charges.

Parker withdrew a previous plea of not guilty and entered a guilty plea during a hearing via Skype on April 28.

According to authorities, at 7:57 a.m. on Tuesday, January 23, the suspect, later identified as 15-year-old Gabriel Parker, entered the school and began shooting with a handgun.

Two students, Bailey Holt and Preston Cope, were killed in the shooting.

Kentucky State Police reported 23 others were hurt. Sixteen suffered gunshot wounds. Seven more were injured in the incident.

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