Judge delays plea ruling in school stabbings

FILE - In this April 9, 2014, file photo, Alex Hribal is escorted to a district magistrate to be arraigned in Export, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A judge is holding off making a decision on whether a Pennsylvania teen can plead guilty but mentally ill to stabbing 20 fellow students and a security guard at his high school in 2014.

The judge said Monday he wants Westmoreland County prosecutors and the attorney for 19-year-old Alex Hribal to file written arguments in the next month-and-a-half over whether he should accept the plea.

Hribal’s lawyer argues the defendant was too mentally ill to appreciate the wrongfulness of his behavior when he stabbed the victims at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville.

But prosecutors say Hribal knew right from wrong and that the judge should reject the guilty but mentally ill plea.

If the judge accepts the plea, Hribal could spend part of his sentence in a mental hospital until doctors determine he is well, and then finish the sentence in prison.

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