Plea ne­go­ti­a­tions on­go­ing in high school stab­bings

De­fen­dant, then 16, cut 20 stu­dents and a se­cu­rity guard.

The Times-Tribune - - Local / State -

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS GREENSBURG — Plea ne­go­ti­a­tions are oc­cur­ring in the case of a now-20-year-old charged with stab­bing 20 fel­low stu­dents and a se­cu­rity guard at his sub­ur­ban Pitts­burgh high school, at­tor­neys said.

“I think there is a good chance it will be re­solved be­fore trial,” de­fense at­tor­ney Pa­trick Thomassey told the Tri­bune-Re­view on Wed­nes­day.

Thomassey was re­fer­ring to 21 counts each of at­tempted homi­cide and ag­gra­vated as­sault, plus a weapons charge, pend­ing against Alex Hribal.

The then-16-year-old Hribal slashed his way through the hall­ways of Franklin Re­gional High School in Mur­rysville be­fore classes be­gan on April 9, 2014, us­ing two 8-inch kitchen knives he took from home.

Four stu­dents were crit­i­cally in­jured and one re­quired a liver trans­plant as a re­sult of his in­juries, but all the vic­tims sur­vived and have since re­cov­ered.

Thomassey has al­ways ac­knowl­edged Hribal com­mit­ted the crimes, but tried to have his client de­clared legally in­sane.

De­fense and pros­e­cu­tion psy­chi­a­trists have tes­ti­fied Hribal pur­posely car­ried out the at­tack on the birth­day of Eric Har­ris, one of two teens the doc­tors say Hribal “wor­shipped” for their at­tacks on Columbine High School near Den­ver on April 20, 1999. Hribal first hoped to com­mit the at­tacks on the 15th an­niver­sary of the Columbine mas­sacre, but couldn’t be­cause school wasn’t in ses­sion that day.

But af­ter ex­ten­sive hear­ings on Hribal’s men­tal state last year, West­more­land County Judge Christo­pher Feli­ciani in Fe­bru­ary re­fused to al­low Hribal to plead guilty but men­tally ill to the crimes.

Had the judge al­lowed that, Hribal would have be­gun serv­ing what­ever prison term he re­ceives in a men­tal hospi­tal, then been trans­ferred to prison if doc­tors ever deemed him cured. Ab­sent that, Hribal is fac­ing the po­ten­tial of decades in prison.

District At­tor­ney John Peck con­firmed the plea dis­cus­sions to the news­pa­per. On Thurs­day, he de­clined to of­fer specifics to The As­so­ci­ated Press beyond say­ing his con­cern for the vic­tims re­mains “para­mount.” Thomassey didn’t im­me­di­ately re­turn mes­sages seek­ing com­ment Thurs­day.

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