Sheriff’s office to escort Franklin Regional stabbing suspect for psychiatric evaluation
Arrangements have been made for the teenager accused in a stabbing rampage at Franklin Regional Senior High School to be taken to Allegheny County for a psychiatric evaluation.
Judge Christopher Feliciani ordered Thursday that Alex Hribal, 17, of Murrysville, be driven by the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office Friday to and from the South Fayette Township office of Dr. Alan Axelson for an assessment.
Axelson was appointed Hribal’s psychiatrist in late October because no facilities could be found in Pennsylvania to accept the teen for treatment. Hribal, according to the defense, has been diagnosed as schizophrenic and depressed, and his attorney sought to have him treated at an inpatient mental health facility.
Feliciani ruled that Hribal can receive treatment by a court-appointed psychologist and psychiatrist at the county’s juvenile detention center, where he has been held since his April 9 arrest.
Hribal is awaiting trial on 21 counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault, and one weapons offense for allegedly slashing or stabbing 20 students and a security guard. He is being prosecuted as an adult.
Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey has said he will seek to have Hribal’s case transferred to juvenile court, although he has not filed a formal request to do so.
Feliciani ordered that Hribal “remain shackled and in the physical custody of the Westmoreland County sheriff at all times during the assessment.”
Sheriff Jon Held said two deputies will be in charge of the defendant. The judge’s order indicates that deputies must be present in the room while the assessment is being conducted, Held said.
“Deputies will not pay attention to what’s being said and not reiterate anything that’s being said in the room,” Held said. “For security and safety reasons, if we need to be that hands-on, then we need to be.
“We’re responsible for (Hribal’s) safety, along with the general public’s and the doctor, as well,” he said.
Thomassey filed a motion Thursday seeking transportation for the assessment, which is expected to last about 90 minutes and will be attended by Hribal’s parents.
“Once the initial meeting, testing and assessment is accomplished, all other sessions between Dr. Axelson and defendant can be conducted via video feed,” Thomassey wrote in the motion.
A March trial is tentatively scheduled.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.