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Teen apologizes for school shootings, says friend influenced him

November 11, 1997

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ The teen-ager charged with stabbing his mother to death and then fatally shooting two classmates claims it was friends dabbling in satanic worship that persuaded him to turn his loneliness into violence.

In a jailhouse interview to be broadcast Wednesday on ABC News’ ``PrimeTime Live,″ 16-year-old Luke Woodham also apologizes for killing his ex-girlfriend and another girl during the Oct. 1 shootings at Pearl High School that left seven other students wounded.

``My whole life ... I just felt outcasted, alone. Finally, I found some people who wanted to be my friends,″ Woodham said. ``I was just trying to find hope in a hopeless world, man.″

Prosecutors allege that a group known as the ``Kroth″ held secretive meetings at Woodham’s house.

Woodham is accused of stabbing his mother to death in her bed and then going to school, where witnesses said he pulled a rifle from a long coat and started shooting at students as they waited for classes to begin.

Days later, authorities arrested six alleged members of the Kroth and charged them with murder conspiracy. The trials of five of those are scheduled for February. The sixth case has been transferred to Youth Court.

Grant Boyette, 18, was described by prosecutors as the mastermind of the group.

``Everything I did was influenced by Grant ... I tried so hard to get his acceptance ... cause he was the only one who accepted me,″ Woodham said. ``He just put a lot of bad things into my head and it built up after time, the pressure of everything on top of that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I just couldn’t take it anymore.″

Boyette’s attorneys would not comment on Woodham’s allegations.

On the program, Woodham apologizes to the families of Lydia Dew and Christina Menefee. Woodham had once dated Menefee.

``I know it’s not, it’s not going to bring their daughters back, but I’m sorry,″ he said. ``If I could turn back time, everything would go differently. But you know, you can’t.″

ABC said the interview, Woodham’s first, was conducted by telephone. Woodham also provided a videotaped statement, which he recorded in the Rankin County Jail, according to ABC.

Sheriff Ken Dickerson has said he did not know how the interview was obtained. Attorneys, clergy members and family are the only visitors allowed in jail and tape recorders and cameras are banned.

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