Man gets jail time for stabbing Judge wrestler

A 21-year-old Holmesburg man was sentenced to jail for the 2014 stabbing of three Father Judge students on Rowland Avenue.

(From left) Tom Bayer, Joe Galasso and Jim Galasso were all injured in the 2014 stabbing on Rowland Avenue. FILE PHOTO

A 21-year-old Holmesburg man has become the first defendant sentenced to jail in connection with the 2014 stabbing of former state champion wrestler Joe Galasso and two of his schoolmates from Father Judge High School.

During a June 6 hearing, Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn H. Nichols ordered Ryan Palen to serve two to five years in state prison followed by two years probation. Sheriffs immediately took Palen into custody inside the courtroom. He’s serving his time at SCI-Graterford.

Palen was 18 on March 21, 2014, when he and a group of accomplices attacked Joe Galasso, his cousin James Galasso and their friend Tom Bayer — all Father Judge seniors — with a knife on the 7500 block of Rowland Ave. in front of Abraham Lincoln High School.

According to police reports and court testimony, the two groups clashed in the street after someone threw a bottle that struck one of the victims in the head. In an ensuing melee, all three victims were stabbed in various parts of the body. The attackers fled before police arrived, but officers later identified them with the help of witnesses and arrested some of them inside a house on the 3400 block of Lansing St.

Police made seven arrests in all. A judge dismissed cases against two defendants before trial, while the District Attorney’s Office withdrew the case against a third defendant. Palen and Hellena Andro, 24, each pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in February. Andro is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 19. She is free on bail.

Meanwhile, Tyler Bollinger, 21, and John Farrell, 22, are each scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 10. Farrell’s first trial in the case ended in a hung jury in March. He is under house arrest. Bollinger is held at the city’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.

Despite suffering critical injuries, Joe Galasso recovered and accepted a wrestling scholarship to Cornell University, where he became the Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman and went 11–7 as a sophomore last winter while battling an injury. ••