A 20-year-old man from Pittsburgh who went on a stabbing spree at his high school when he was 16 was sentenced to a maximum of 60 years behind bars on Monday. Alex Hribal stabbed 20 of his classmates in addition to a security guard in the hallways of his school in 2014. He used two kitchen knives in the attack.
Hribal pleaded in the fall of 2017 to 21 counts of attempted homicide, in addition to other charges, court documents reveal. He was tried as an adult and the case never went to trial.
Hribal's defense attorney Patrick Thomassey said his client is severely mentally ill. He had asked the judge to let Hribal plead "guilty but mentally ill." That motion was denied. Now, instead of Hribal receiving psychological treatment before serving his prison sentence he will go straight to jail.
Thomassey expressed his disappointment to CNN, stating, “I think this kid is severely mentally ill, but there were politics in this situation that I couldn't get around."
CNN reports that the judge has ordered Hribal to pay thousands of dollars in restitution.
"I would also like to say that bullying is such a problem these days,” Hribal said at his sentencing hearing, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Treating each other the way people would like to be treated is the solution.”
He then paused.
“I feel horrible about everything,” Hribal he said, according to Reuters. “There’s no words I can use, and nothing I can say, to make it all better. There’s nothing I can say to fix it.”
Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani has rejected the claim that the violent acts were a result of bullying.
Some of the victims gave impact statements before the sentence was read. Kolden Cook, 19, was stabbed in the back by Hribal. He gave a powerful victim statement, in which he wondered aloud if Hribal is capable of remorse.
"Does he feel a sense of righteousness or a sense of regret?" he asked. "If he feels the latter, there might be some hope."
Hribal’s 2014 stabbing spree was cut short after he was heroically tackled by Sam King, the school’s assistant principal. King previously testified that after he stopped the stabbing, Hribal exclaimed, “‘I am not going to drop the knives, my work is not finished, there’s more people to be killed.'”
During that same hearing, mental health professionals testified that the teen was obsessed with high school massacres.
[Photo: Westmoreland County Prison]