Convicted Pennsylvania elementary machete attacker dies while serving sentenceNovember 28, 2023
A man who used a machete to attack children and educators at a Pennsylvania elementary school in 2001 has passed away. William Stankewicz was found unresponsive in his cell at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas (SCI Dallas) early on Monday and was pronounced dead at 7:41 a.m. Pennsylvania State Police will conduct an investigation, and the official cause of death will be determined by the Luzerne County Coroner’s Office. The 78-year-old former history teacher was serving a 132- to 264-year sentence for a criminal homicide conviction in York County. In early 2001, Stankewicz drove from his home in Johnson City, Tenn. to Red Lion, Penn., where he carried out the shocking attack. On Feb. 2, 2001, Stankewicz walked into the North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School near York, armed with a 2-foot-long machete, wounding 11 kindergarten students and three adults. Principal Norina Bentzel, the most seriously hurt, broke her arm and suffered severe cuts during the struggle. Some students had to be hospitalized, and Stankewicz later pleaded no contest to charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and possessing weapons on school grounds. He carried out the attack because he was angry about his divorce from his Russian-born wife and had previously threatened to kill her and her two daughters.