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Stabbing suspect to be treated in detention center

Created: 10/08/2014 6:52 AM
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GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A judge has reversed his own ruling and now says a teenage boy awaiting trial in a Pennsylvania high school stabbing rampage will remain in a juvenile detention center and receive mental health treatment there.

Westmoreland County Judge Christopher Feliciani changed his ruling because he and 16-year-old Alex Hribal's defense attorney couldn't find a secure mental hospital willing to treat the boy, either because he's a minor or because of security risks involved, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/1vNoQkR ) reported Tuesday.

Hribal, of Murrysville, is charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and a school weapons violation for stabbing 20 students and a security guard at Franklin Regional High School on April 9. They all survived, though four students were critically injured at the time.

Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey acknowledged the boy committed the crimes using two 8-inch kitchen knives he took from home, but said the boy has mental issues that need to be addressed at a hospital. Instead, two doctors will treat the boy while he remains at the county's detention center.

Feliciani had ordered Hribal moved to a mental hospital after a four-hour hearing Sept. 26. At the hearing, two psychological experts hired by the defense testified the boy may be developing schizophrenia and needs intensive, ongoing, inpatient mental health treatment.

District Attorney John Peck and his psychiatric expert, Dr. Bruce Wright, disagreed with defense experts and proposed keeping Hribal in the juvenile facility but allowing him to visit a psychiatrist or having one brought in to treat him. That is what will happen to Hribal now that no inpatient treatment options were found.

The judge on Tuesday ordered a psychiatrist and a psychologist to treat Hribal "for such periods and at such a frequency" as they "deem appropriate."

Thomassey has said he'll soon file a document asking that Hribal's case be moved from Common Pleas, or "adult" court, to juvenile court, where a judge could incarcerate or order Hribal supervised only until he's 21. Peck has said he'll oppose such a move.

Wherever Hribal is eventually tried, Thomassey expects the boy's mental state will be an issue in his defense.

Thomassey and Peck did not immediately return calls for comment before regular business hours Wednesday.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Photo: NBC News
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