William Stankewicz, behind bars following a machete attack at a Pennsylvania elementary school in 2001, has died in prison, officials say.

Officials say that the man who was convicted for wounding almost a dozen kindergarteners during a machete assault at an elementary school , Pennsylvania , in 2001 died in prison.

William Stankewicz (78) was found unconscious in his cell, at the State Correctional Institution of Dallas, around 7:41 am on Monday morning, according to Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

The statement noted that Stankewicz had been in the facility near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania since May 2012.

The statement continued, “According to state policy Pennsylvania State Police was notified and will investigate.” The Luzerne County Coroner’s Office will determine the official cause of death. “The deceased’s next-of-kin have been notified.”

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William Stankewicz enters the district justice’s office in York, Pa. on Feb. 2, 2001 for an hearing. (AP/Paul Vasthis)

The Associated Press reported that the Feb. 2, 2001 attack on North Hopewell-Winterstown elementary school near York, approximately 75 miles west from Philadelphia, injured 14 people, including 11 Kindergarten students.

Norina Bentzel, the principal of the school, was most seriously injured. She suffered severe cuts and broke her arm as she wrestled Stankewicz down.

Stankewicz said in court that he had committed the attack out of anger over his divorce with his Russian-born former wife and her accusations that he molested his daughters. Stankewicz claimed that she had used him as a way to enter America, and then made up the accusations to stay in the country.

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The North Hopewell Wintertown Elementary School, Red Lion, Pa. where the attack occurred in 2001.

Stankewicz was from Johnson City in Tennessee and told the AP that he chose the elementary school as he couldn’t find the home of his ex-wife.

Stankewicz also threatened to kill both his ex-wife, and her two daughters, before the attack. He threatened immigration officials, and a Pennsylvania Congressman after he failed to deport her.

The threats led to his two-year federal prison sentence.

(Pennsylvania Department of Corrections)

According to the York Daily Record, in the machete attack he pleaded not guilty to charges of tried murder, aggravated assualt and possessing weapons at school grounds.


This report was contributed by The Associated Press.

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