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Jailed Hribal 'fine,' but family 'terrible' as answers in stabbing sought

| Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 11:27 p.m.
Alex Hribal, the suspect in the stabbings at the Franklin Regional High School, is taken from a district magistrate after he was arraigned on charges in the attack on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.

A week ago, Alex Hribal's name became a national headline when he was charged with slashing and stabbing 19 Franklin Regional Senior High School classmates and a security guard during a rampage.

But these days, Hribal's life at Westmoreland County's juvenile facility is measured, calm, and carefully controlled, said Rich Gordon, director of the Regional Youth Services Center near Greensburg, where the slightly built teen has been held since the April 9 attack.

At the juvenile facility about 20 miles from Franklin Regional, Hribal, 16, can read local newspapers, but not until authorities remove articles about the rampage, Gordon said. He can watch television, but nothing about the attack.

The teen has not been on suicide watch.

Early on, the other youths were afraid of Hribal, who is charged as an adult, but things have settled down, Gordon said.

Hribal's attorney, Patrick Thomassey, said the teenager is doing “fine” and that “he knows where he is and what's going on.”

But Thomassey said Hribal's family is doing “terrible” as they search for elusive answers about what might have triggered the actions.

For him and his client, attention is cast on what lies ahead, a preliminary hearing on April 30 and court proceedings to follow.

Westmoreland County and Greensburg officials will meet on Wednesday to discuss security and other logistics for the preliminary hearing.

The hearing has been moved from the Export office of District Judge Charles Conway to the county courthouse.

Thomassey has said Hribal plans to waive his right to a preliminary hearing, and he will ask that the charges be moved to juvenile court.

Hribal is charged with four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a weapon on school property.

He could receive up to 20 years on each of the attempted homicide and assault charges.

If the charges are moved to juvenile court and Hribal is found delinquent, he can be held only until his 21st birthday.

Renatta Signorini and Rich Cholodofsky are staff writers for Trib Total Media.

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