Defense: West Liberty school shooting suspect had depression, anxiety


UPDATE @ 2:50 p.m.: Attorneys in the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting case argued Tuesday about whether the suspect could legally waive his Miranda rights.

Ely Serna, 18, is charged with two counts of attempted murder and other felony charges in connection with the Jan. 20, 2017, school shooting. He’s pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

A psychologist and a psychiatrist testified Tuesday that he suffered from severe depression and anxiety at the time of the shooting.

EXTRA: West Liberty school shooting suspect to stay in adult court

The defense says because he was suffering from the mental disorders, he couldn’t rationalize the consequences of him waiving his rights. However, prosecutors say he understood the rights and voluntarily waived them.

Champaign County Common Pleas Judge Nick Selvaggio took the arguments under advisement.

FIRST REPORT: The West-Liberty Salem High School shooting suspect is expected to be in Champaign County Common Pleas today.

Ely Serna, 18, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and other felony charges. He allegedly brought a shotgun to West Liberty-Salem High School on Jan. 20, 2017, and shot fellow student Logan Cole twice in a school’s bathroom, according to a sheriff’s office report. He’s also accused of shooting at a teacher and firing other shots toward classrooms, the report says.

WEST LIBERTY-SALEM: Tiger Stronger Day marks West Liberty school shooting anniversary

The Tuesday hearing is to discuss a motion by the defense to suppress what Serna allegedly told Champaign County deputies during an interrogation following the shooting. Serna pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and the defense has argued his statements to law enforcement at the time shouldn’t be allowed.

A jury trial is set for April 10 in the case. Defense Attorney Dennis Lieberman said in court he expects the defense to ask the court for a bench trial instead of a jury trial. The trial is expected to last through April 20.

READ: West Liberty-Salem still healing 1 year after school shooting

The Champaign County Prosecutor’s Office plans to call between 30 and 35 witnesses if the case does go to trial, Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said. The prosecutor’s office is prepared to move forward to trial whether Champaign County Judge Nick Selvaggio rules the interrogation to be admissible or not, Talebi said.

EXTRA: West Liberty school shooting suspect to stay in adult court

The hearing was expected to take place in January, however, the defense didn’t get a document to the prosecutor’s office by a deadline, Selvaggio said, and therefore he had to schedule another hearing date for the motion.




Next Up in Crime

Recent high school grad found dead in submerged car in murky pond after week-long search
Recent high school grad found dead in submerged car in murky pond after week-long search

For six days, authorities combed Elbert and Madison counties in northeastern Georgia looking for any sign of Julie Ann Mosier.  >> Read more trending news  Mosier, 18, had been missing since July 12 when she went to visit a friend in the Bowman area, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. A massive search included a tricky stretch of...
Romance scams: How to spot, avoid a costly relationship
Romance scams: How to spot, avoid a costly relationship

“She said all the right things. I’m an older man, kind of lonely. I was looking for a change and she hit me at just exactly the right time.”  A Centerville man thought he found love, but now he knows it was a lie. He lost $800 in a romance scam and wants to warn others.  He requested to be known only as “Joe&rdquo...
Child endangerment charges against YouTube stars dropped, officials say
Child endangerment charges against YouTube stars dropped, officials say

Child endangerment charges against a West View, Pennsylvania, couple have been dropped, officials said. Isaac and Nicole Guest were charged in June after police said their two young sons were found by a good Samaritan on the side of a busy road. According to police, their mother was a block away at a park while their father was at home. The Guests...
‘Buckskin girl’s’ grave in Troy to get new headstone with her name
‘Buckskin girl’s’ grave in Troy to get new headstone with her name

A young woman found dead in a Miami County ditch known as the “buckskin girl” will finally have a headstone bearing her name. New genetic genealogy tools through the nonprofit DNA Doe Project led to the discovery of the woman’s identity: 21-year-old Marcia L. King of Little Rock, Arkansas, the Miami County sheriff announced in...
5 signs your relationship is toxic and hurting your mental health
5 signs your relationship is toxic and hurting your mental health

Everyone in a relationship knows how easy it is to accuse a partner of something they didn't do. It's their fault, you tell them, whether the spat is about towels on the bathroom floor, an angry mother-in-law or a missed restaurant reservation. >> Read more trending news  Sometimes you know you're wrong the second these words leave...
More Stories