Man charged with stabbing lashes out in courtroom

Posted: Wednesday, May 09, 2001

ANCHORAGE - A man charged with attempting to murder four elementary school children by slashing their throats with a filet knife lashed out Tuesday at his court arraignment.

"Kill the young children. Kill yourself. Kill the young children first, then kill yourself," Jason Pritchard yelled as he was led from the courtroom.

Pritchard, 33, remained mute and did not answer questions during his arraignment in District Court on four counts of first-degree attempted murder and four counts of first-degree assault. Officers restrained him in a chair when he refused to remain seated.

Pritchard is charged with stabbing four children Monday as they were waiting at Mountain View Elementary School for the breakfast program to begin. He was arrested after police subdued him with bean bag projectiles.

"I get the impression it was for shock value. It seems he's doing this crazy act," Keith Leonard, grandfather of two of the injured children, said of Pritchard's courtroom outburst. His grandsons, Eric Moy, 9, and Billy Moy, 8, were released from the hospital Tuesday.

The two other children remained hospitalized Tuesday. Cody Brown, 7, was in serious condition and Stephan Hansell, 8, was in fair condition after getting 34 stitches.

"I don't know why this would happen," Hansell told KTUU-TV.

Wilma Leonard, the Moy brothers' grandmother, said Pritchard needs to be in a mental hospital. "He's got some severe problems. He needs help," she said.

The knife came very close to severing Eric's jugular vein, his grandparents said. There were concerns Billy wouldn't be able to talk, but he called his grandmother after surgery and asked for hash browns.

About 25 parents gathered Tuesday morning outside Mountain View Elementary School to protest what they say is lax security at many Anchorage schools.

"I'm a concerned parent, and none of these schools are safe," said Denise Estell, who used to have children in the Mountain View school.

A couple of dozen counselors were on hand to help students and parents. Micki Resari, Mountain View Elementary PTA president, described the mood of the school as grim.

Charging documents say that when police arrived at the school, teacher Jeff Harriman was standing between Pritchard and Stephan Hansell, who was lying on the floor bleeding. Harriman used a student desk to keep Pritchard away from the boy.

An officer helped the teacher and the boy flee the room. As the officers kept Pritchard at gunpoint, he was talking about sending "his little brothers and sisters to Jehovah," according to the court documents.

He dropped the knife only when a bean bag projectile broke his hand, the documents said.

A search of an area where Pritchard's car was found revealed a handwritten note entitled, "Remember Columbine," charging documents said.

Pritchard, who was born in Eugene, Ore., apparently was living in his car. He had been arrested 13 times since 1994 on charges that include assault, stalking, criminal trespassing and driving while intoxicated, police said.

"This is the sad end of someone slipping through the cracks," said Keith Leonard, grandfather of the Moy brothers. "How was he able to walk the streets?"

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