ShareThis Page
News

Hribal aimed to kill in Franklin Regional school stabbing spree, Westmoreland DA Peck argues

| Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

Westmoreland County Judge Christopher Feliciani has all the legal arguments he'll get to decide whether the Franklin Regional student accused of stabbing 20 students and a security guard at the high school two years ago will have his case moved to juvenile court.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck filed the final paperwork outlining his case to keep Alex Hribal in adult court Wednesday. The defense filed its argument to move the case to juvenile court in February.

Hribal meant to kill the students and security guard, but “only by the grace of God did that not occur,” Peck said in his 20-page document.

Hribal was 16 when police said he wildly swung two kitchen butcher knives at students and the security guard in the hallway of the school on April 9, 2014. He is charged as an adult with 21 counts of attempted homicide and aggravated assault.

Because Hribal, now 18, could be held only until he turns 21 in the juvenile court system, he would end up serving less than five years in custody for the attacks, Peck said.

The “well-planned and carried out indiscriminate attack ... warrants more than a total of 4 12 years incarceration,” Peck said in the filing.

“That Alex Hribal would only serve 4½ years after the physical and psychological harm he inflicted would depreciate the cold and heartless attack of Hribal and the harm done to innocent students and a security guard who did nothing to provoke or deserve the attack upon them,” Peck wrote.

The DA argued that Hribal planned the attacks well in advance and at one point pulled a fire alarm to lure more students into the hallway.

Six students testified during court hearings to suffering knife wounds during the attack. Some were hospitalized for weeks, and many say they still suffer from flashbacks and physical scars, according to the court filing.

Teachers and administrators who intervened testified that they, too, continue to experience flashbacks, Peck noted in the filing.

“The impact of the offenses on the community ... highlights the extreme seriousness and callousness of the offenses and heavily weighs in favor of denying decertification of this case,” Peck argued. “Students depart their homes each morning expecting to be in a safe school environment (and) parents send their children to schools expecting ... their children to be as safe as they are in their homes. Such expectations were brutally and violently shattered by Alex Hribal on April 9, 2014.”

Hribal's attorney, Patrick J. Thomassey of Monroe-ville, in his brief states that although the victims' injuries were serious and some are still “haunted” by memories of the April 2014 stabbings, “Fortuitously ... there were no deaths resulting from the incident.”

His brief states that the testimony given by victims during the hearings indicates they have moved on.

Hribal has been in the Westmoreland County jail without bail since turning 18 in October.

Liz Zemba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me