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Preliminary hearing for Franklin Regional stabbing suspect postponed until June 4

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All 1,240 Franklin Regional Senior High School students received small, clear bags with a district logo on Monday, May 5, 2014, to carry clothes for gym class, cords for their electronic devices and other items. #1 Cochran car dealership donated about 2,000 bags, enough for the district to save any extras for next year's freshman class.
Monday, May 5, 2014, 11:24 p.m.
 

The preliminary hearing for a Franklin Regional Senior High School sophomore accused of trying to kill 20 classmates and a school security guard in a stabbing rampage has been delayed for a second time.

At the request of defense attorney Pat Thomassey, the hearing for Alex Hribal, which was scheduled to be held Friday, was moved to 9 a.m. June 4 before Export District Judge Charles Conway at the Westmoreland County Courthouse.

“We have mental health people involved with Alex, and there's no hurry. He's not going anywhere,” Thomassey said.

Although Hribal, 16, is charged as an adult, he has been held in the county's juvenile detention center since his arrest on April 9, shortly after authorities accused him of running down school hallways with two 8-inch kitchen knives, randomly slashing students.

Two students remain in fair condition in Forbes Hospital in Monroeville — Connor Warwick, 16, and Greg Keener, 15, who was moved back into an intensive care unit during the weekend for monitoring.

The defense previously indicated it would waive Hribal's right to a hearing, but Thomassey said plans may change because prosecutors filed a new complaint to include 21 charges of attempted homicide.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said all 21 victims could be called to testify at the preliminary hearing.

With the criminal case against Hribal on hold for now, Franklin Regional administrators took steps to increase transparency by distributing plastic backpacks on Monday to more than 1,200 high school students for use during the school day.

The clear backpacks with black trim arrived as a donation from the #1 Cochran car dealership in Monroeville.

The backpacks will replace small drawstring bags that students were permitted to carry for items such as gym clothes or cords for their electronic devices.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Staff writer Renatta Signorini contributed to this report.

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