The decision to charge the 16-year-old accused in mass stabbings at a Pittsburgh-area high school as an adult means he could face an effective life sentence, Senior Associate Dean Daniel Filler told NBCNews.com on April 10.
Alex Hribal was charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault following a rampage on April 9 in which students and staff at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, Pa. were gravely injured.
Charged as an adult, Hribal will face a criminal jury, Filler said, adding that defense attorneys who might seek to get the case moved to juvenile court could face long odds.
“Cases that are so high-profile like this really are driven by the public outcry,” Filler said, noting that the judges who will ultimately decide the venue are elected and would face political pressures. “The politics are all against it. Really against this kid.”
Filler is an expert on criminal law, and he studies the effects the social anxiety on the development of criminal law.