Hearing set for West Liberty-Salem school shooter trying to reduce prison sentence

Ely Serna appears in Champaign County Court in February. Jeff Guerini/Staff

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Ely Serna appears in Champaign County Court in February. Jeff Guerini/Staff

A hearing in the appeal of the West Liberty-Salem school shooter will take place later this year.

Champaign County Common Pleas Court Judge Nick Selvaggio set a hearing date for Sept. 3.

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Attorneys for Serna say he didn’t deserve the 23½-year maximum sentence imposed on him by Selvaggio.

The initial appeal was filed shortly after Selvaggio sentenced Serna to prison for the high profile shooting. Serna assembled a shotgun at school and opened fire on classmates. Logan Cole was shot twice in the attack and other students were shot at also.

Serna was 17 at the time of the shooting and Serna’s appeals attorneys believe the judge should have weighed his age more heavily before sentencing him, according to court documents.

They are also arguing Selvaggio made a mistake when he sought information about the drug Vyvanse on the internet. Serna was allegedly using Vyvanse shortly before the shooting, according to court testimony.

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The attorneys say the judge went outside the record and relied on promotional content from the drugs website to make his ruling. The state argued in its reply that Selvaggio has the right to seek out information on his own.

Serna’s attorneys argue the information obtained by Selvaggio was unreliable.

The Champaign County Prosecutor’s Office has argued in court filings that Serna received a fair sentence. They say Selvaggio properly sentenced Serna after reviewing all the facts and that the school shooting was a serious crime that deserves serious punishment.

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