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Judge to hold hearing on request to move suspect in Franklin Regional High stabbings

| Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, 3:51 p.m.

A Westmoreland County judge will hold a hearing to determine whether the teenager accused of stabbing 21 victims at Franklin Regional High School should be moved to a treatment facility.

Westmoreland County Judge Christopher Feliciani ordered that the hearing be held Sept. 26.

In a June 27 filing, defense attorney Patrick Thomassey asked that Alex Hribal, 16, be moved from the Regional Youth Services Center in Hempfield to Adelphoi Village, a secure facility in Derry Township, where he can receive mental health treatment.

Hribal, who is being held without bond, is charged as an adult in the April 9 attack in a first-floor hallway at the school before classes began.

He is facing 21 counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault and a single count of possession of a weapon on school property.

Investigators allege that Hribal brought two knives to the school and began slashing and stabbing classmates and a security guard, critically wounding four students.

Hribal has been diagnosed with schizophrenia by a psychiatrist who evaluated him in May. Thomassey claims that Hribal's mental condition is deteriorating.

“... Given his flat affect, his inability to relate, his impaired judgement, his episodic suicidal ideation, his sense of hopelessness and helplessness, he does not demonstrate the capacity to cooperate with his attorney,” Thomassey wrote in the June motion, referring to a report from psychiatrist Christine Martone.

A prosecution expert was granted permission to evaluate Hribal in July.

On June 2, Thomassey waived Hribal's right to a preliminary hearing and nine days later waived his scheduled July 23 formal arraignment, or a reading of the charges.

Hribal has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Police and prosecutors have not discussed a motive for the attacks.

Police found a handwritten note in Hribal's locker, dated three days before the attacks, that expressed dissatisfaction with school and society and alleged plans to hurt other students. The note was titled “RAGNAROK,” which is the name for a final battle preceding the end of the world in Norse mythology.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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