Woodam Conviction Upheld

Luke Woodham's murder of his mother was a prelude to his slaughter of students at Pearl High School in 1997. On Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld his murder conviction in the death of Mary Ann Woodham. In January, the Supreme Court turned down Woodham's appeal of gunning down two classmates at Pearl High School.

He is serving two life sentences plus 140 years in prison after his 1998 conviction for the shootings that claimed the lives of his ex-girlfriend and another girl. Seven others were wounded in the shooting spree. Mary Ann Woodham was stabbed to death in the hours before the Oct. 1, 1997 high school shooting. Woodham, now 19, was convicted in a separate 1998 trial and sentenced to life in prison. On appeal, Woodham argued that his videotaped and written confessions were not voluntarily given. Woodham said he was too young, 16 at the time, and mentally in shock and emotionally distraught to understand what he was doing. Presiding Justice Jim Smith, writing Thursday's decision for the Supreme Court, said the court record revealed that Woodham was read his rights three separate times. Smith said Woodham signed the form acknowledging that he had been read and understood his rights. Smith said there were also indications of Woodham's intelligence, including his testimony about reading philosophical works and classic literature. Smith said there was no reason to not believe Woodham's confessions weren't voluntary.

The Supreme Court also rejected Woodham's arguments that the jury ignored the overwhelming evidence that he was insane. Smith said Woodham and prosecutors put forth testimony from psychiatrists. He said it was up to the jury to decide whose experts to believe and they decided to believe that Woodham was sane when he killed his mother.