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Westmoreland

Alex Hribal says 60 years in prison too long for Franklin Regional attack

Rich Cholodofsky
| Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, 11:57 a.m.
Alex Hribal is taken back to prison by county sheriffs on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, after being sentenced to up to 60 years in prison for attempting to kill 21 people at Franklin Regional High School in 2014.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Alex Hribal is taken back to prison by county sheriffs on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, after being sentenced to up to 60 years in prison for attempting to kill 21 people at Franklin Regional High School in 2014.
Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey, talks to media after his client Alex Hribal was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison for the 2014 stabbing spree at Franklin Regional High School, in which 20 students were injured, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey, talks to media after his client Alex Hribal was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison for the 2014 stabbing spree at Franklin Regional High School, in which 20 students were injured, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

The 60-year prison sentence imposed last week on Alex Hribal for his knife rampage at Franklin Regional High School is too long and should be cut in half, according to documents filed Friday in Westmoreland County.

Defense attorney Pat Thomassey said the facts of the case do not support the prison sentence of 23 1/2 to 60 years that Hribal was ordered to serve.

Thomassey asked Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani to reduce the sentence, which he called excessive and unreasonable, and impose a lesser term of 15 to 30 years in prison.

"Imposition of such as sentence would be sufficient but not more than necessary to reflect consideration of the protection of the public, the gravity of the offense, the impact on the lives of the victims and community as well as consideration of the defendant's rehabilitative needs," Thomassey wrote.

During Hribal's Jan. 22 sentencing hearing, District Attorney John Peck asked the judge to impose a sentence of up to 60 years. Peck asked that Hribal not be eligible for parole for 30 years.

Hribal, 20, of Murrysville, pleaded guilty in October to 43 separate charges for the attempted murder and aggravated assault of 20 students and a school security guard during the April 9, 2014, attacks.

Several students were critically injured as Hribal, then 15, used two kitchen knives from home and slashed and stabbed his way down a hallway before the start of classes.

At the sentencing hearing, Thomassey argued for leniency as he described Hribal as a troubled young man with serious mental health issues.

Hribal was diagnosed by defense-hired doctors as suffering from depression and schizophrenia. His parents testified their son was routinely bullied in school and said they didn't know the extent of his psychological issues until after the attack.

Hribal was prosecuted as an adult. The judge rejected a bid from the defense to have the case moved to juvenile court, where Hribal could not have been held in custody beyond his 21st birthday.

The judge also refused to allow Hribal to plead guilty but mentally ill to the charges, which would have allowed him to serve a portion of his sentence in a mental health facility.

Hribal on Friday was still in Westmoreland County Prison waiting to be transferred to the state corrections system. He was ordered to continue mental health treatment during his long sentence.

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