Severely wounded Franklin Regional student improves
'Has pretty good memory' of stabbing
April 13, 2014 11:42 PM
Lisa Stewart, a teacher at Franklin Regional’s Sloan Elementary School, adds her message of encouragement Saturday to others on a banner placed in a strip mall along Route 22 in Murrysville. The banner will be displayed near the high school when classes resume this week.
Jared Boger from the 2013 Franklin Regional yearbook.
By Mary Niederberger and David Templeton / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
As teachers return to work today and students head back to class Wednesday at Franklin Regional High School, some healing of emotional wounds may begin. But there still are four male stabbing victims in critical care in intensive care units facing long recoveries from their physical wounds.
There was good news for one of the four over the weekend. Jared Boger, 17, who was among the most severely wounded with a knife in the chest and through the liver, just below his heart, underwent his final planned surgery, was taken off of a ventilator and was breathing on his own, according to Dr. Louis Alarcon, director of trauma surgery at UPMC Presbyterian.
"He's actually doing well. He's off the ventilator, able to speak for the first time. He's in good spirits. He's an amazing young man, very mature, very calm demeanor," Dr. Alarcon said. "He has a pretty good memory of what happened to him."
Jared, a junior, remains in critical condition in an intensive care unit, as do three of his classmates who are being treated at Forbes Hospital. They are: Derek Jones, 17, a junior; Connor Warwick, 16, a sophomore; and Greg Keener, 15, a sophomore.
While the victims' families are visiting their loved ones in the hospitals, the attorney for the suspect in the stabbings is visiting him at Westmoreland County's juvenile detention center in Greensburg. Alex Hribal, 16, has been charged as a adult in connection with Wednesday's stabbings with four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possessing a prohibited weapon on school property. He was denied bail and is currently undergoing a psychological evaluation.
"He understands where he is and the predicament that he is in," said Alex's attorney, Patrick Thomassey, after visiting his client Sunday. He said he believes Alex is competent to stand trial but plans to use psychological evaluations in his quest to get the case moved to juvenile court.
Mr. Thomassey said he can't release specifics about what he and Alex have discussed but that based on those discussions and phone calls being made to his office from students in the district, he believes that bullying may have been a motivating factor for his client. Initially Mr. Thomassey said there were no indications bullying took place.
"I am starting to drift toward the side that things were going on in that school that weren't proper," he said. "We've had a number of anonymous calls to our office with people pointing us in certain directions."
Alex faces a preliminary hearing April 30 before District Judge Charles Conway in Export. Mr. Thomassey said he will likely waive that hearing, though that decision could change. Within six weeks to two months after the preliminary hearing, Mr Thomassey said, Alex will face formal arraignment in Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court. After that point, Mr. Thomassey expects to make his motion to have the case transferred to juvenile court.
He expects his argument for the transfer to be based on reports from psychologists and possibly psychiatrists, and on any bullying evidence he may be able to substantiate.
Dr. Alarcon declined to release the details Jared provided of the day he was attacked, saying he would prefer that information come from the Boger family. The family so far has not participated in any media interviews and have been at Jared's bedside around the clock, the doctor said.
But Dr. Alarcon did provide details of the surgical procedure Jared underwent Sunday. "We were able to definitively close his abdomen and repair the laceration in the abdominal wall," Dr. Alarcon said. The knife blade went all the way through Jared's liver, barely missing the heart, the aorta and the esophagus.
Before Sunday, Jared's internal organs had been too swollen for his abdomen to be closed. Dr. Alarcon said the day of his injury Jared "pretty much lost his entire volume [of blood] and we had to transfuse aggressively."
But now, he said, Jared "is in the recovery phase of all of this. It's up to his body to recover from all of the injuries and the stress to his system. But we are optimistic. His progression has been better than we expected all along," Dr. Alarcon said.
While Jared's family is not speaking with the media, his American Legion Baseball coach, Gus Bondi, was willing to share his thoughts about the athletic high school junior.
"He's a great kid from a great family -- just a tremendous kid,' said Mr. Bondi, the 47-year-old Murrysville man who has known Jared for 10 years and served four to five years as his American Legion Baseball coach. "He's the kind of kid, that when you talk to him, he looks you in the eyes and listens to what you have to say."
After every game -- and practice, for that matter -- Jared would come up to him and shake his hand with a "Thanks, coach."
Jared is "the kind of kid that everybody likes," Mr. Bondi said, adding that Jared also is an avid hunter and accomplished skier.
That statement is supported by Jared's role with Seven Springs National Ski Patrol at the Somerset County mountain resort. Those in the patrol are trained in safety and rescue procedures for such outdoor recreational activities as skiing, snowboarding, tubing and snow-skating.
The first page of the recent National Ski Patrol -- Western Appalachian Region News features Jared holding a second-place plaque that he won in a toboggan competition held for "young adult patrollers" at the organization's seminar in Sugarloaf, Maine.
Correction, posted April 14, 2014: The spelling of Connor Warwick's name has been corrected.