Luke Woodham was sixteen years old when he murdered three people. According to court documents Luke Woodham would stab his mother to death before headed to Pearl High School armed with a rifle. This teen killer would shoot and kill two female students including his ex girlfriend. He would also injure seven other students. This teen killer would be convicted and sentenced to two life terms and seven twenty years terms for the attempted murders.
Luke Woodham 2021 Information
|Race: WHITE||Sex: MALE||Date of Birth: 02/05/1981|
|Height: 6′ 3”||Weight: 290||Complexion: FAIR|
|Build: EXTRA L||Eye Color: BLUE||Hair Color: BROWN|
|Entry Date: 06/15/1998||Location: MSP||UNIT: UNIT 30|
|Location Change Date: 03/01/2018||Number of Sentences: 10||Total Length: LIFE|
Luke Woodham Other News
On June 5, 1998, Luke Woodham, a sixteen-year-old high school student, was convicted of stabbing his mother to death and sentenced to life imprisonment. At trial, Luke Woodham testified that he had no recollection of killing his mother. He described his relationship with his mother as devoid of love and essentially nonexistent. He recalled his earliest memories of home life while on the stand. These consisted of his parents fighting and finally divorcing when he was in the sixth grade. Woodham testified that he was often left without adult supervision. He never had any close relationships with his extended family, and he described his childhood as lonely.
¶ 3. At trial, he stated that he had suffered from depression as early as age eight. Classmates picked on him as early as kindergarten; and, according to Luke Woodham, the further he went in school, the more intense the picking, name calling and physical bullying became. In high school, he was indifferent regarding his school work and had to repeat his ninth grade year. He testified that he began to seclude himself from others with the exception of a girlfriend, whom he contended provided him with the love he had waited for all of his life. When the relationship ended, however, he began an emotional downward spiral.
¶ 4. Grant Boyette, an older high school student, befriended Luke Woodham and other unpopular students at school. These students began spending time together-playing video games, reading books and discussing philosophy. At some point, Luke Woodham detailed how the group began dabbling in the occult under the guidance of Boyette. Witnesses testified that Boyette began preaching satanic teachings to the other members of the group, later named “The Kroth.”
¶ 5. At trial, Luke Woodham testified that on the day of his mother’s death, he heard Boyette’s voice in his head directing him to kill his mother. He recalled the following:
I remember I woke up that morning, and I had seen the demons I’d seen all the time when Grant had told me to do something. And he was telling me that I was nothing and that I’d always be nothing; ․ And I remember getting the knife, and I got a pillow. And I walked into my mother’s room. And I remember Grant’s voice and he told me that I had to do all of this.. I remember I just closed my eyes, and I just followed myself. I didn’t want to do any of it ․ I kept hearing his voice. And my eyes were closed. When I opened them, my mother was lying on her bed dead.
¶ 6. Lucas Thompson, a classmate of Luke Woodham, testified that the night prior to the homicide, Woodham told him in a telephone conversation that he was going to kill his mom the next day with a knife. Thompson did not believe him; however, when they spoke again the next morning, Luke Woodham, who was on the other phone line with Boyette, informed Thompson that he had in fact done it.
¶ 7. Woodham’s blood and the blood of his mother were found on a butcher knife removed from the crime scene. Dr. Steven Hayne, the State’s pathologist and author of Mary Woodham’s autopsy, detailed her injuries:
There were multiple types of injuries. Specifically there was evidence of blunt force trauma. There was evidence of multiple slash wounds. There was evidence of multiple stab wounds. In fact a total of seven stab wounds were identified, and eleven slash wounds were noted during the course of the autopsy. In addition, there were superficial injuries consisting of scratches or abrasions located on multiple surfaces of the body. There was also one small cut located over the front of the left arm. And there was also areas of bruising located predominantly over the right side of the face.
He concluded that the ultimate cause of death was attributable to “three stab wounds of the chest, to include a stab wound of the heart, a stab wound of the right lung, a stab wound of the left lung, and the subsequent collection of a large volume of blood bleeding into the chest cavity to a volume of approximately three quarts of blood․”
¶ 8. Shortly after Luke Woodham was taken into custody and mirandized, an investigator observed a large cut on Woodham’s hand and asked him how he had cut his hand. Luke Woodham paused for a moment and responded, “Killing my mom.” A jail administrator testified he also asked Woodham the same question and received the same answer. Investigators obtained written and video recorded statements from Woodham. In their presence, Luke Woodham signed a waiver of rights form, a video release form and a form styled “Voluntary Statement” in which he confessed to killing his mother. In the “Voluntary Statement” Woodham wrote the following:
I woke up this morning, got a butcher knife, and a pillow. I got into my mother’s room at about 5:00 a.m. I put the pillow over her head and stabbed her.
He further explained in a videotaped confession that killing his mother was the only way that he could get the gun and the car.
¶ 9. A jury convicted Luke Woodham of murder on June 5, 1998. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Aggrieved by the jury’s verdict, he has timely filed this appeal.
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Pearl High School shooter Luke Woodham, who killed three in 1997, is pushing for parole eligibility.
In January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that those sentenced as teenagers to mandatory life sentences for murder must be given a chance to argue they should be released from prison.
On Oct. 1, 1997, the 16-year-old Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned his mother to death and then entered Pearl High School with a .30/30 rifle. He shot nine classmates, killing two of them.
The school attack, one of the worst in U.S. history at the time, helped inspire other school shootings across the country, culminating in 1999 with the shootings in Colorado at Columbine High School, where students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 and injured 21 others.
In his 1998 trial, the jury rejected Woodham’s insanity defense, convicting him of the three murders.
“I am sorry for the people I killed and hurt,” Woodham told Circuit Judge Samac Richardson. “The reason you see no tears anymore is because I’ve been forgiven by God. If they could have given the death penalty in this case, I deserve it.”
Under Mississippi law, those convicted of murder receive a life sentence, but are eligible for parole.
The judge sentenced Woodham to three consecutive life sentences. The judge also gave seven 20-year sentences for attempted murder.
Prosecutors were unable to prosecute Woodham for capital murder under the law at that time. Lawmakers have since changed the law, making it possible to bring the death penalty against anyone who kills on educational property.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in January built on the 2012 decision that threw out mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles.
Woodham has no parole eligibility date at this time.
In keeping with the 2012 decision, the state Supreme Court ordered a hearing before Richardson on Woodham’s claim.
His attorney, Tom Fortner, wrote that his client’s 140-year sentence for aggravated assault is the equivalent of a life without parole sentence.
Fortner wrote that justices have concluded that such sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.
He suggested that the 140-year sentence be allowed to run concurrently with the life sentences.
“Mr. Woodham will still be serving life sentences and thus will remain in prison unless and until the Parole Board decides that he has earned the privilege of release on parole,” he wrote.
This is not the first time Woodham has pushed for his freedom.
In 2011, he asked then-Gov. Haley Barbour for clemency. Barbour rejected the request.
Seven years earlier, the state Supreme Court denied Woodham’s request for post-conviction relief.
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