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Student arrested after 'kill list' found

Friday, April 26, 2002

By Ernie Hoffman, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Police have arrested a Hempfield Area High School sophomore who was found with a "kill list" that had four names on it. The list also made a reference to the fatal bludgeoning of a fellow student, a school official said yesterday.

  Mourners embrace outside Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Jeannette last evening after a service for Adam Bishop. (Matt Freed, Post-Gazette)

The student, whose name was not released because he is 16, was arrested at the end of the school day Wednesday and charged with making terroristic threats.

Hempfield Area Superintendent Wayne Doyle said school authorities were particularly concerned after the the list was spotted by a teacher because it referred to the slaying of Adam Bishop, an 18-year-old senior who was beaten to death with a hammer in his home last Friday.

Bishop's brother, 14-year-old Ian, and a friend, 15-year-old Robert M. Laskowski, have been charged with first-degree murder in the older Bishop's slaying. Both are ninth-graders at the high school.

"There were some statements [with the list] involving the situation that already occurred," Doyle said. "We assumed that everything was taken care of with the arrest of the first two."

Doyle said the boy with the list and the two murder suspects were friends who lived in different parts of Hempfield but spent time together at school.

"There's a small group that they're a part of," Doyle said.

State Trooper Tom Spallone said police considered it a serious matter because it was labeled "kill list." Two on the list were students and two others were adults, but police refused to identify them.

Spallone said police contacted the four to inform them their names were on the list.

Spallone said police did not know whether the list had any direct connection with Bishop's death because the investigation was not complete.

"We've been up to the high school just about every day" since the slaying, Spallone said.

Doyle said a teacher noticed the list on a folder on the student's desk and notified the high school office, which in turn called police.

Yesterday, Juvenile Court Master John Casario ordered the boy to be detained in the Westmoreland County Regional Youth Services Center pending an adjudication hearing before Common Pleas Judge John J. Driscoll within 10 days.

The charge against the boy is a misdemeanor and the proceedings against him are not open to the public.

Doyle said the boy had not been a disciplinary problem in school before this. He could be expelled after a hearing before the school board, but that would depend on the disposition of his case.

The high school has about 2,300 students, Doyle said, and the mood there has been mostly one of grieving since Adam Bishop was killed.

Last night, several hundred mourners, most of them students from Hempfield Area High, attended a memorial service for Bishop at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Jeannette.

Teens gathered outside the church hugged and cried openly and tried to comfort one another.

Among them was Luke Youngstead, 16, an 11th-grader who used to eat lunch with Adam Bishop. As he made his way into the service with several friends, he said that the mood in the halls at Hempfield this week was grim.

"This ripped apart the school, especially on Monday and Tuesday," Youngstead said.

"Everyone is still sad and it's something that will just take time to get over."

T.J. Marks, a 10th-grader who knew both Bishop boys, wondered how it could happen.

"Adam used to come over to our lunch table and he was really nice and would always ask how you were doing. It's weird because I don't think anybody knew that he and his brother even fought," he said.

Marks met Ian Bishop earlier this school year and thought that he seemed like just a regular kid.

"Ian -- he seemed cool," Marks said. "I just couldn't imagine him having this much rage to do something like this."

Doyle said that any student with information about the slaying or any kind of a hit list should tell an adult what they know.

He said they can talk to teachers, members of the administration or make an anonymous call to the student Help Line, (800) 418-6423.

Staff writer Dan Gigler contributed to this report.

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