Teen accused in Franklin Regional attack to be tried as an adult

In this April 9, 2014, file photo, Alex Hribal is escorted to a district magistrate to be arraigned in Export, Pa. (AP)
The Associated Press

The teen accused in the April 2014 knife attack that left 20 classmates and a security guard injured at Franklin Regional High School should be tried as an adult, a Westmoreland County judge has decided.

Common Pleas Judge Christopher A. Feliciani denied a petition from defense attorney Patrick Thomassey to move Alex Hribal’s case to juvenile court. Mr. Hribal was 16 when police said he brought two kitchen knives to the Murrysville school on April 9, 2014, and slashed or stabbed the students in a first-floor hallway before the start of classes.

He is charged with 21 counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault and could face decades in prison if convicted. A trial date has not been set.

Mr. Thomassey could not immediately be reached. He argued in court last year that Mr. Hribal was making progress at the Westmoreland County juvenile detention center, where he was receiving mental health treatment, and at the county jail, where he was moved when he turned 18.

In his order, Judge Feliciani wrote that the defense did not establish that transferring the case to juvenile court, where Mr. Hribal could be incarcerated only until age 21, “will serve the public interest.”

“Simply put, the court finds that the risk of the defendant’s relapse, potential for re-offending in a similar manner, now, or upon his release at age 21, and many unknown and unpredictable psychological/psychiatric factors, to outweigh the likelihood that the defendant’s re-entry into our community would be safe and of no concern to the community.”

A prosecution psychiatrist testified in November there’s no guarantee Mr. Hribal can be successfully treated by then.