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|“||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.||„|
|~ Woodham's explanation for why he committed the shooting.|
Luke Woodham (February 5th, 1981 - ) is an American man who committed a shooting at Pearl High School on October 1, 1997. Woodham, who was 16 at the time, killed 2 students and injured 7 others.
The incident began on the morning of Wednesday, October 1, 1997, when Luke Woodham fatally stabbed and bludgeoned his mother, Mary Ann Woodham, as she prepared for a morning job. At his trial, Woodham claimed that he could not remember killing his mother, but later admitted that she had put him through child abuse, both physically and emotionally. Mary Ann Woodham died 20 minutes later from blood loss.
Woodham then drove his mother's Toyota Tercel to Pearl High School. Wearing a trench coat to conceal the rifle he was carrying, Woodham entered the school and fatally shot Lydia Kaye Dew and Christina Menefee, his former girlfriend, then went on to wound seven others.
The school's assistant principal, Joel Myrick, retrieved a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol from his truck and, spotting Woodham attempting to flee the parking lot after the shooting, shouted for him to stop. Realizing what Woodham was doing, another student used his own vehicle to block Woodham's path, at which point Woodham attempted to get around the obstruction by driving his mother's car onto a grass verge, only to end up getting stuck in the grass. Seizing his opportunity, Myrick ordered Woodham out of the car at gunpoint and detained him until police arrived at the scene.
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 through black magic.
Woodham also once tortured his dog to death with a friend.
There were separate trials for the murder of Woodham's mother and the school shooting. Woodham's lawyer argued at both trials that Woodham was insane at the time of the killings. Jurors rejected Woodham's insanity defense at his first trial for the murder of his mother, and he was sentenced to life in prison on June 5, 1998. His second trial took place on June 12, and he was found guilty of two counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder, with the jurors once again rejecting the insanity defense. He was given two life sentences for the murders and seven 20-year sentences for his attempted murder convictions. He is currently serving three life terms plus an additional 140 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2046, when he is 65 years old.
As of 2014, Woodham is incarcerated in Unit 29 of MSP as MDOC #R4682.
- Lydia Kaye Dew, 17
- Christina Menefee, 16
- Mary Woodham, 50