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Man gets up to 14 years for slashing bicyclist in South Side

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Thursday, July 17, 2014, 11:42 a.m.
 

Colin Albright wasn't seeking vengeance or a severe punishment for the man who attacked and almost killed him in the South Side nearly two years ago.

The most important thing Albright, 26, of East Liberty wanted for Anthony Scholl Jr. was for him to get treatment for the mental illness that experts said likely contributed to the throat slashing on Sept. 5, 2012.

“I have no joy or relief (in) what's happening to him,” said Albright, who has scars on his head and across his throat. “To me, there's not easy justice in this situation.”

Scholl's mental illness and Albright's outspoken empathy for his attacker were among the reasons Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski cited when he gave Scholl, 23, of West Homestead less than the maximum sentence. Scholl will serve seven to 14 years in prison, not 20 to 40. The judge sentenced him to 27 years on probation to ensure he gets treatment for his schizophrenia upon his release.

“You could have received a much harsher sentence,” Borkowski said.

Scholl will receive credit for the time he's served in jail since his arrest in October 2012.

Scholl's lawyer, Ryan Tutera, said he was satisfied with the punishment and agreed that Albright's compassion helped his client earn leniency.

“Someday he will be out of incarceration and can be a successful member of society,” Tutera said.

Scholl wore black pants, a beige T-shirt and a cast on his right arm. Tutera said he wore the cast because he broke his arm during a fight in the county jail.

“I want to start by saying I am truly sorry,” Scholl told the judge. “I never meant to hurt nobody.”

“I hope that someday your family and mine will forgive me,” he told Albright.

A jury in March found Scholl guilty of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Scholl told police that voices in his head told him to attack Albright, who he said cut his car off in traffic riding a bicycle near the Hot Metal Bridge. Scholl said he followed the bicyclist to city steps leading up the South Side Slopes and parked his car.

“When I got to the steps, I followed him up, threatened him, we got into a fight and he had a bicycle, so I pulled out my knife, and I cut him,” Scholl told detectives upon his arrest more than a month after the incident.

The Steel Valley Senior High School graduate and former U.S. Steel mill worker stared blankly while members of his family told the judge about the eight-month decline in his mental health that led to an involuntary commitment at Jefferson Regional Medical Center and the stabbing months later. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Lawson Bern-stein diagnosed Scholl with schizophrenia, Tutera said.

“I just want my son to get help. I know he wouldn't have done what he did if it wasn't for the disease,” said Scholl's mother, Patricia Arlett.

To Albright, she said: “I'm very sorry to him and his family for what they've been through.”

Arlett said her son saw his father, Anthony Scholl Sr., shoot her in the leg on May 17, 1996, because he was convinced she was a Russian spy.

The elder Scholl, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, served 14 years in prison, she said. Upon his release, police say he fatally shot his mother, Bernadette Scholl, in her home in Munhall in March 2013. He is awaiting trial on a homicide charge.

Jennifer Chasko, a friend of Scholl's family, said it would be a “travesty of justice” if Scholl followed in his father's footsteps and didn't get the treatment he needs.

“We know he is guilty and has a problem and needs help,” Scholl's grandmother, Patricia Lesko, told the judge.

Albright, who hugged Arlett and Lesko after the hearing, said it was difficult to pass them in the hallway during the trial and not be able to speak to them.

“I felt like it put a chasm between us,” he said. “I'm glad to know that's not the case.”

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

- Colin Albright of Garfield talks to reporters in March after a jury convicted Anthony Scholl Jr. of West Homestead of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person. Scholl attacked Albright on the South Side on Sept. 5, 2012.
Colin Albright of Garfield talks to reporters in March after a jury convicted Anthony Scholl Jr. of West Homestead of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person. Scholl attacked Albright on the South Side on Sept. 5, 2012.
- Anthony Scholl Jr. of West Homestead was convicted of stabbing a bicyclist on the South Side in September 2012.
Anthony Scholl Jr. of West Homestead was convicted of stabbing a bicyclist on the South Side in September 2012.
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