Alleged West Liberty-Salem shooter competent to stand trial

A judge has ruled that the alleged West-Liberty Salem High School shooter is competent to stand trial.

Ely Serna, who’s accused of bringing a shotgun to school on Jan. 20 and shooting 17-year-old Logan Cole twice and grazing another student, can participate in his legal proceedings, Champaign County Juvenile Judge Lori Reisinger decided Monday.

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“The court found the juvenile to be competent to participate in these proceedings,” a statement from the Champaign County Family Court reports.

Defense Attorney Dennis Lieberman requested a competency hearing in February to determine if Serna could understand the court proceedings and help in his own defense. Reisinger agreed to have one without a state’s objection.

Lieberman then filed a motion to keep the public out of the hearing because it would reveal Serna’s sensitive medical information.

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The competency hearing was held in early May. The judge heard testimony from two psychologists who evaluated Serna. That testimony was closed to the public, including the media.

Lieberman said he still has concerns about Serna’s competency but that the defense respects the court’s decision.

“We will move forward,” Lieberman said. “We filed the motion because we believe there is a question of (his competency).”

PREVIOUS REPORTING: Defense wants hearing closed for accused West Liberty shooter

The family of Cole declined comment when reached on Monday.

Serna is due back in court at 10 a.m. June 7 for a probable cause hearing. After that hearing, the prosecutor’s office could request another hearing to determine if Serna should be tried as an adult.

Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi has said previously that he plans to ask the court to move the case to adult court. Talebi couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday.

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