An Upper Saucon man will return home to serve out a yearlong probation after prosecutors agreed to time served and family counseling in the April 2012 stabbing of his son, whom police found with a kitchen steak knife sticking out of his chest.
"[Upper Saucon police] officers are very familiar with this house," said Lehigh County Assistant District Attorney Steven Luksa in reference to suspect Alan Birk. "It's an oil and water mix between the parents and the children."
According to Alan Birk, a fight broke out over son Matthew Birk disturbing the dogs. Alan said he was in the process of kicking his son out of the home on Route 309 South.
Alan Birk told Judge James Anthony his son is an alcoholic.
During sentencing, Alan Birk spoke of his son's troubled past. "[Matthew's] been in trouble since he was 13. He was very confrontational."
Defense attorney Ettore Angelo told Anthony that Matthew Birk's confrontational nature caused problems between father and son in the past. "[Alan Birk] loves his son, almost to a fault. That's how [the fight and stabbing] escalated."
Police were called to Birk's home just before 11pm April 18, 2012 for a reported stabbing. According to the criminal complaint, when police arrived they found Matthew Birk, then 21, standing about 200 feet from the home at 3834 Route 309 with a kitchen steak knife sticking out of his chest.
The report says that the blade "approximately four-and-a-half inches was in his chest on his left side in the area of his heart. He was bleeding heavily from the knife wound site."
Luksa said doctors who examined the wound said it was minor, less than an inch deep.
Matthew Birk was not at the hearing, which Luksa attributed to his unwillingness to cooperate with the prosecution.
"The victim has made it clear that he doesn't want to move forward with prosecution of his father," said Luksa. "But [Matthew Birk] called 911 and said 'my father stabbed me.'"
A no-contact order for father and son was issued until family counseling was completed to the court's satisfaction. Alan Birk told the court he has had no contact with his son since the incident.
Luksa said the DA's office agreed to the sentence primarily because authorities don't believe Alan Birk poses a threat to society.
"The only danger Alan and Matthew Birk pose is to themselves. It's a terrible, tragic family situation."