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Pearl High School 1997

Posted by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:17 PM
  • 3 Replies

Teen guilty in Mississippi school-shooting rampage


Police escort Woodham to the Hattiesburg courthouse Thursday 

June 12, 1998
Web posted at: 11:33 p.m. EDT (0333 GMT)

HATTIESBURG, Mississippi (CNN) -- Rejecting an insanity defense, a Mississippi jury found 17-year-old Luke Woodham guilty Friday night of two counts of murder and seven counts of aggravated assault for a shooting spree last October at Pearl High School.

Woodham was accused of killing two classmates -- ex-girlfriend Christina Menefee, 16, and her friend Lydia Dew, 17 -- and wounding seven others during the attack, the first of a series of deadly mass shootings at U.S. schools. Jurors deliberated about five hours before returning their verdict.

Judge Samac Richardson immediately sentenced Woodham to two consecutive life sentences for the murder convictions and seven 20-year sentences for the aggravated assault convictions.

After being sentenced, Woodham spoke briefly to the court.

"I am sorry for the people I killed and hurt. The reason you see no tears anymore is because I've been forgiven by God," Woodham said.

"If they could have given the death penalty in this case, I deserve it."

The mother of one of the girls stood up in court and said, "You have stolen from me. ... You have stolen any chance I will ever (have) to hold grandchildren."

Last week, a separate jury in Philadelphia, Mississippi, convicted Woodham of murdering his mother, 50-year-old Mary Woodham, who was beaten and stabbed. He was sentenced to life in prison for that killing, which prosecutors say happened several hours before the attack at Pearl High.

Woodham confessed to shooting his classmates, but said he did not remember killing his mother. Defense attorneys argued in both trials that Woodham was legally insane at the time of the slayings. The school-shootings trial began Tuesday.

Woodham describes killing his mother
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vxtremeLuke Woodham's confession to the Pearl, Mississippi, police


Tearful Woodham: 'I'm so sorry'


On Friday, the defense rested its case after Woodham completed his testimony. He began in a calm, restrained mood, but, by the final minutes, he had broken down into sobs. He apologized for his actions and acknowledged they were unjustified.

"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry," he sobbed. "It wasn't me. I didn't want to do it."

Woodham said revenge against Menefee was the primary motivating factor behind the school shootings. He said he was devastated when Menefee broke up with him a year earlier.

"I didn't eat. I didn't sleep. I didn't want to live," he sobbed. "It destroyed me."


Egged on by alleged cult member


Woodham also insisted that his friend, Grant Boyette, encouraged him to murder his mother and Menefee during more than five hours of telephone conversations on the day before the murders.

Boyette, 19, and several other alleged members of a cult-like group known as "the Kroth" have been charged with conspiracy in the school shootings.


Jurors watch Woodham's taped confession 

Woodham testified that Boyette pushed him on with insults, calling him "gutless ... [and saying that] he had never done nothing."

"The reason all this happened is that I was heartbroken," Woodham said. "I could have gotten over it, but Grant wouldn't let me ... he told me I had to kill my mama ... I had to get my revenge on Christina."

"I shot Christina," Woodham said. "I never really knew why the others got shot. It just happened."

But under cross-examination, Woodham admitted that his desire for revenge against his ex-girlfriend outweighed Boyette's influence. When asked to explain why he did Boyette's bidding, he replied: "acceptance."

Prosecutor John Kitchens suggested that most of Woodham's problems -- the breakup with his girlfriend, his lack of friends and his problems with his parents -- were common to most teen-age boys.

The prosecution rested its case against Woodham on Thursday morning, closing with a videotaped confession the teen gave less than an hour after the shootings.





 
 

 

 

 

 


The Pearl High School shooting
 
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (16) - School shooting - Satanist
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: October 1, 1997
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: February 5, 1981
Victims profile: His mother, Mary Woodham / His ex-girlfriend Christina Menefee and her friend Lydia Kaye Dew
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife / Shooting
Location: Pearl, Mississippi, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on June 5, 1998 for the murder of his mother. Sentenced to two life sentences for the High School murders and seven 20-year sentences for his attempted murder convictions on June 13, 1998
 
 

 
 

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Luke Woodham (born February 5, 1981) is a convicted American murderer, and a former resident of Pearl, Mississippi who in 1997 killed 3 people, including his own mother, and wounded 7. He is serving life in prison.

Murder of Mother

On the 1st of October 1997 Luke Woodham, then 16, brutally beat and stabbed his mother, Mary Woodham to death. When put on trial in court, he claimed to have not remembered killing his mother.

October 1: Shooting at Pearl High School

Woodham drove his mother's car to his high school, wearing a long coat to hide his rifle. When he entered the school, he began firing rampantly, killing his ex-girlfriend Chrtistina Menefee and her friend Lydia Dew, and wounding 7 others before a teacher retrieved a pistol from his car and subdued Woodham. When the teacher asked Woodham of his motive, he replied "Life has wronged me, sir".

Charges

Woodham confessed to shooting his classmates, but as before mentioned, he claimed to not remember killing his mother. He pleaded insanity, but the jury rejected the insanity defense, and instead found him guilty.

A separate jury in Philadelphia, Mississippi, convicted Woodham of murdering his mother, 50-year-old Mary Woodham, who was beaten and stabbed. He was sentenced to life in prison for that killing. Defense attorneys argued in both trials that Woodham was legally insane at the time of the slayings.


The Pearl High School shooting was a school shooting that occurred on October 1, 1997 at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi, United States. The gunman, 16-year-old Luke Woodham (born February 5, 1981), killed two students and injured seven others at his high school. Before the shooting at Pearl High School began, Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned his mother to death in his home.

Details

The incident began on the morning of October 1, 1997 when Luke Woodham fatally stabbed and bludgeoned his sleeping mother, Mary Woodham. At his trial, Woodham claimed that he could not remember killing his mother.

Woodham drove his mother's car to Pearl High School. Wearing an orange jumpsuit and a trenchcoat, he made no attempt to hide his rifle. When he entered the school, he fatally shot Lydia Kaye Dew and Christina Menefee, his former girlfriend. Pearl High School assistant band director, Jeff Cannon, was standing five feet away from Dew when she was fatally shot. He went on to wound seven others before leaving, intending to drive off campus and conduct another shooting at the nearby Pearl Junior High School. However, assistant principal Joel Myrick had retrieved a .45 pistol from the glove compartment of his truck and subdued Woodham inside his mother's car. Then Myrick demanded "Why did you shoot my kids?" Woodham replied, "Life has wronged me, sir".

Minutes before he started the shooting, he gave the following message to a friend:

"I am not insane, I am angry. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society, push us and we will push back. ... All throughout my life, I was ridiculed, always beaten, always hated. Can you, society, truly blame me for what I do? Yes, you will. ... It was not a cry for attention, it was not a cry for help. It was a scream in sheer agony saying that if you can't pry your eyes open, if I can't do it through pacifism, if I can't show you through the displaying of intelligence, then I will do it with a bullet."

Religious involviment

On October 8, 1997 Grant Boyette, Delbert Shaw, Donald Brooks, Wesley Brownell, Daniel Thompson and Justin Sledge were arrested in suspicion of conspiring with Woodham to commit the shooting. During his trial, Woodham claimed to have gotten ideas of committing the murders by being involved with a Satanic cult. Woodham admitted to being a Satanist, and claimed that his friend Grant Boyette invited Woodham to join a Satanic group known as "The Kroth". He claimed that Boyette told him that he had "potential to do something great." Woodham said that Boyette promised him that he could get his ex-girlfriend back or get even through black magic.

After his conviction Woodham converted to Christianity, and said the following in a letter written to evangelical minister David Wilkerson:

David, I receive your sermons through the mail. I am one of the school shooters. I’m the one they blame for starting it all off. On October 1, 1997, I went into Pearl High School and killed two students and wounded seven. I also killed my mother before this. After I came to jail I got saved. If there is any way that I can help your ministry, I would love to. Maybe I could give you my testimony. I’ll do anything to help. I look forward to your sermons each month.

by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:17 PM
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Replies (1-3):
_Kissy_
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I graduated that year. I don't remember hearing anything about this...

ReadWriteLuv
by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM
1 mom liked this

We have short memories in this country. This was the precursor to Columbine.

And as another poster mentioned in another group, the only thing that stopped this boy from continuing his rampage and shooting more children is that the school principal went to his car, got is .45 calibur hand gun, and held the shooter at gun point until the police arrived. 

Erinelizz
by Bronze Member on Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I also graduated that year, and I don't remember this either. It's interesting to hear him say that he doesn't remember killing his mother or shooting other students. It's almost as if he had tunnel vision, only one goal in mind, and whatever he had to do to accomplish this goal was unimportant. Frightening.


Quoting _Kissy_:

I graduated that year. I don't remember hearing anything about this...


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