Machete-wielding man accused of attack at school

Saturday, February 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FELTON, Pa. (AP) _ A former teacher accused of storming into an elementary school with a machete and provoking a bloody confrontation had served prison time for threatening his former Russian mail-order bride.

William Michael Stankewicz, 55, allegedly struggled with a principal and several teachers in a kindergarten classroom during the Friday incident, injuring three women and six children. None of the injuries was life-threatening, school officials said.

``We heard screaming from outside in the hall,'' said 12-year-old Chelsea Stein, who was in her sixth-grade classroom when the attack began.

Police arrested Stankewicz and charged him with two counts of attempted homicide, seven counts of aggravated assault and one count of bringing a weapon onto school property. Stankewicz was held on $2 million bail following his arraignment.

``I had nothing in my hand,'' he told reporters prior to the arraignment.

Stankewicz, a former history teacher from Baltimore, refused to say why he was at the school but talked at length about his failed marriage to his fourth wife, a Russian mail-order bride. He said congressmen and immigration officials ignored his pleas to deport his former wife, Larisa, and her daughters, Olga and Shasha.

``He thought she used him to get here and bring the kids,'' said former U.S. Rep. Bill Goodling, whose office was flooded with letters and phone calls from Stankewicz until December 1999. ``I felt that he was going to keep pressing this issue until he went off the deep end and did something.''

Larisa Stankewicz apparently lives in Pennsylvania but is not a U.S. resident, said her lawyer, Stephen Converse.

Stankewicz brought his bride and her two children from Kazakstan in 1995. Five months after their wedding and shortly after she received a green card, she sought a protection from abuse order, accusing him of molesting her daughters, then 10 and 14.

After the allegations were made public, Stankewicz threatened to kill Larisa, her children, her lawyer and his family, Converse said. After a guilty plea, he spent time in federal prison.

Sankewicz said his former stepdaughters had gone to the school where he allegedly committed the attack.