Downtown hostage taker who posted on Facebook sentenced

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Klein Michael Thaxton is led from Pittsburgh Police headquarters by police on Sept. 21, 2012 after a hostage incident at Three Gateway Center in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

 

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A man who took a hostage at a downtown skyscraper and posted to Facebook during the ordeal has been sentenced to between six and 15 years in state prison.

Twenty-three-year-old Klein Michael Thaxton of McKeesport was sentenced Wednesday on kidnapping, ransom, aggravated assault and other charges. Last September he held a 59-year-old businessman hostage for six hours before surrendering peacefully.

Police say Thaxton was off his medication for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression when took the man hostage.

During the standoff, Thaxton posted comments about his depressed state on Facebook using his hostage’s computer and smartphone, police said. Investigators believe Thaxton chose Breitsman at random after seeing the electronics through a glass window in his office in Three Gateway Center, a downtown high-rise.

In July Thaxton was also charged with attacking another inmate at the Allegheny County Jail.

Kirsha Weyandt, Thaxton’s court-appointed defense attorney, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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