MURRYSVILLE, Pa. - The 16-year-old charged in a stabbing spree at Franklin Regional High School met with his attorney at a juvenile detention center on Thursday.
Alex Hribal’s attorney Pat Thomassey, who said Wednesday night that bullying did not prompt the attacks, said on Thursday that it did not prompt the attacks but may have played a part.
“I don’t want to comment specifically right now, but I think there are some things that occurred that led to why we are here today,” said Thomassey.
Law enforcement sources told Target 11 that bullying was not a motive; however, they are looking into a threatening phone call that was made the night before the attacks.
Sources said the phone is being analyzed by the FBI to see if Hribal made the call. Hribal’s attorney said he didn’t.
“He was home the night before this occurred with his parents. They didn't see him on the phone arguing with anybody,” said Thomassey.
Student Dominic Altieri said he thinks bullying is a problem at Franklin Regional.
“I heard a lot about him being bullied, and I felt bad for him. I tried to be friendly towards him. I’d make jokes and he’d laugh. He was just a very introverted person,” Altieri said.
Superintendent Dr. Gennaro Piraino said Franklin Regional has several programs in place to deal with bullying.
"I have found this community to be welcoming to me. This community has been compassionate and caring. I have found this community to be deeply concerned about their precious asset which is kids,” Piraino said.
Law enforcement sources said there were no specific targets, and it was just a random attack.
Thomassey met with Hribal for nearly three hours on Thursday.
“He’s upset. He knows he’s in a world of stuff and how serious it is,” said Thomassey.
Thomassey has said he is hoping to move the criminal charges against Hribal to juvenile court.
“(The legal battle) is going to be tough because of the number of victims. I would think it’ll be tough (to get it moved to juvenile court), but we’ll give it our best shot,” Thomassey said.
Hribal is charged as an adult with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and a weapons charge.
Hribal is being held in the juvenile center despite being charged as an adult because a change in the law in 2010 that allows juveniles under adult charges to be held there.
“He is being held with the regular population. There are currently 12 juveniles being held there and the capacity is 20,” said Rich Gordon, the director of the Westmoreland Juvenile Services Center.
Thomassey would like Hribal to undergo a psychiatric exam.
The attorney said Hribal's parents were "horrified" by the attack.
“The family can’t figure out what happened. And it’s my job to figure out what happened,” Thomassey said. “These parents are devastated by this. They never saw any of this coming, and they want to send their best to all the victims.”
Target 11 investigator Rick Earle reported that Hribal visited with his parents Thursday.
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