New charges filed against Franklin Regional stabbing suspect
April 25, 2014 11:10 PM
Stabbing suspect Alex Hribal is taken from the magistrate's office after his arraignment April 9, the day of the attack.
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The 16-year-old boy accused in the Franklin Regional High School knife attack earlier this month wrote on a document found in his locker that he "can't wait to see the priceless and helpless looks on the faces" of his fellow students -- and told a school official who tackled him after the stabbings that he had "more people to kill."
Alex Hribal was arraigned on 21 counts of attempted homicide Friday by video conference from the Westmoreland County juvenile detention center in Greensburg, where he has been held since the April 9 attack at the Murrysville school. He is accused of stabbing or slashing 20 students and a security guard before classes started that morning.
Previously charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault, he is also charged with having a weapon on school property. His attorney, Patrick Thomassey, said Friday that he didn't think the document found in the locker supported the 21 counts of attempted homicide and called the new charges "a little bit of piling on."
"We had four counts of attempted criminal homicide and  counts of aggravated assault. I don't know how much it changes, really," he said. "I don't see the point of it, quite frankly, but it is what it is."
In a criminal complaint filed Friday, police wrote that after vice principal Sam King tackled him, Alex would not drop the two 8-inch kitchen knives he held in each hand and brought from home to carry out the plan.
"The accused refused to drop the knives and was saying: 'No, I am not dropping them, my work is not done, I have more people to kill,' " Murrysville police Sgt. Charles Tappe and Westmoreland County Detective Robert W. Weaver wrote in the complaint.
While executing a search warrant April 9, police found a handwritten document in Alex's locker, dated three days before the attack, that reads in part: "I can't wait to see the priceless and helpless looks on the faces of the students of one of the 'best schools in Pennsylvania' realize their precious lives are going to be taken by the only one among them that isn't a plebeian," investigators wrote in the complaint.
He signed his first and last name to the paper, police said.
"Based on that, criminal attempted homicide for all of the victims is the appropriate charge," Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said of the discovery of the document and further interviews, including Mr. King's account of what Alex said as he held him down.
Also Friday, Sgt. Tappe said that he has reviewed text messages from the last three months on a cell phone that investigators seized from Alex's locker.
He said there is "nothing to indicate he was bullied, at least in his communication with his friends" or that he was depressed, describing "most" of the messages as "typical interaction between teenagers."
The sergeant said some texts, however, were "interesting to us because of what happened" April 9. Police plan to interview the person who was part of that exchange with Alex.
He also said the FBI, Westmoreland County detectives and Murrysville police all together have interviewed more than 100 teachers and students, including some of Alex's friends. Alex was at a sleepover the weekend before the attack but friends reported nothing out of the ordinary, the sergeant said.
In addition to searches of his locker and home, police also collected Alex's academic records, including report cards and teachers' notes. One elementary teacher described Alex as "a pleasure to have in class," Sgt. Tappe said. "I wanted to dig back as far as I could. ... Still nothing comes up," he said of signs Alex was being picked on.
Alex is scheduled for an April 30 preliminary hearing.
Two students injured in the attack remained hospitalized at Forbes Hospital on Friday. Greg Keener, 15, a sophomore, is in critical condition in intensive care; and Connor Warwick, 16, also a sophomore, is in fair condition.