A fourth young man has been ordered to stand trial in connection with the March 21 stabbing of three Father Judge High students, including state champion wrestler Joe Galasso, in a Mayfair street attack.
Ryan Palen, 18, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the Juvenile Branch of the city’s Family Court on May 7 and was held for trial on three aggravated assault charges, along with three counts each of conspiracy, reckless endangerment and simple assault. He is also charged with possessing an instrument of crime.
Family Court is the division of the city’s Common Pleas Court which handles cases involving juvenile defendants or victims. In this case, the prosecution is seeking to try the defendants as adults.
Last week’s hearing followed an April 11 session during which Family Court Judge James Murray Lynn held three other defendants for trial, including Hellena Andro, 20; John Farrell, 19; and Tyler Bollinger, 18; while dismissing charges against two others. The judge cited lack of evidence for the dismissals.
A preliminary hearing for a seventh defendant, Edward Farrell, 17, was postponed until May 28 at the request of defense attorney Ron Greenblatt.
The alleged knife attack occurred at about 11 p.m. in front of Abraham Lincoln High School. According to an initial police report, Joe Galasso, his cousin James Galasso and their friend Tom Bayer — all seniors at Father Judge — were walking together along the 7500 block of Rowland Ave. when they passed another group of at least seven teens and young adults.
A member of the larger group allegedly threw a glass bottle that struck one of the victims in the head and prompted an argument, then a physical fight, police said. In the melee, the Galassos and Bayer were each stabbed in various parts of the body. The attackers ran away.
Police received multiple 911 calls about the altercation and found the injured victims at the scene. Two of the teens were taken to Aria Health-Torresdale, while a third was taken to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. All have been released from the hospital and are recovering from varying injuries.
In the early stages of the investigation, witnesses helped police identify the suspected attackers, most of whom allegedly had gathered inside a house on the 3400 block of Lansing St. Police arrested six of the defendants there, then arrested a seventh a short time later on the 3400 block of Shelmire Ave.
Bollinger, Edward Farrell and a third defendant whose case was dismissed were 17 at the time. The other four defendants were adults.
The five remaining defendants all face the same charges as Palen, with John Farrell charged additionally with hindering apprehension.
John Farrell, Edward Farrell and Bollinger remain jailed at city prisons in lieu of bail. Andro is free after posting 10 percent of $30,000 bail. Palen was freed from prison on unsecured bail but will be on house arrest with electronic monitoring pending trial. ••