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Pennsylvania school machete attacker William Stankewicz dies in prison

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The man convicted of wounding nearly a dozen kindergarten students during a machete attack at an elementary school in Pennsylvania in 2001 has died in prison, officials say. 

William Stankewicz, 78, was found unresponsive in his cell at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas around 7:41 a.m. Monday, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. 

“Stankewicz was serving a 132- to 264-year sentence for a criminal homicide conviction from York County,” the statement said, noting he had been housed at the facility near Wilkes-Barre since May 2012. 

“In accordance with state policy, Pennsylvania State Police were notified and will conduct an investigation,” the statement added. “The official cause of death will be determined by the Luzerne County Coroner’s Office. The deceased’s next of kin has been notified.” 

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William Stankewicz is led into the district justice office in York, Pa., Feb. 2, 2001, for a hearing. (AP/Paul Vathis)

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The Feb. 2, 2001, attack at North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School near York, about 75 miles west of Philadelphia, left 14 injured, including 11 kindergarten students, according to The Associated Press. 

Principal Norina Bentzel was the most seriously hurt, suffering severe cuts and a broken arm while helping wrestle Stankewicz to the ground. 

In court, Stankewicz told a judge he committed the attack because he was angry about his divorce from his Russian-born ex-wife and her allegations that he molested her daughters. Stankewicz said she used him to get to America and then made the allegations to remain in the country. 

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Pennsylvania elementary school

The North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School in Red Lion, Pa., where the attack happened in 2001. (Google Maps)

Stankewicz, who was from Johnson City, Tennessee, said he targeted the elementary school because he was unable to find his ex-wife’s home, the AP reported. 

The AP also says Stankewicz had threatened to kill his ex-wife and her daughters before the attack. After he unsuccessfully sought to get her deported, he threatened immigration officials and a Pennsylvania congressman.  

He then served two years in federal prison for the threats. 

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State Correctional Institution at Dallas prison in Pennsylvania

William Stankewicz died Monday at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, officials say. (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections)

 

In the machete attack, he pleaded no contest to charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and possessing weapons on school grounds, according to the York Daily Record. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News

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