3 new things we learned about the West Liberty-Salem shooting during Ely Serna’s sentencing

A Champaign County judge sentenced Ely Serna, the accused West Liberty-Salem shooter, to 23.5 years in prison on Wednesday and while doing so revealed a number of things that previously wasn’t known to the public.

READ: West Liberty-Salem shooting sentencing

Here are 3 things revealed during the sentencing hearing.

1. Serna did fail a drug test

Immediately after the shooting, rumors began to surface that Serna had failed a drug test and that he potentially would be banned from wrestling competitions.

The Springfield News-Sun asked West Liberty-Salem superintendent Kraig Hissong at the time about the rumors, but he declined to comment.

Champaign County Judge Nick Selvaggio, however, said during sentencing that the rumors were true. He asked Serna whether he was angry at the school because of the drug test.

Serna told him that he wasn’t angry during the shooting and he thought he might be able to wrestle anyway despite the drug test.

READ: West Liberty-Salem shooting sentencing: What shooter Ely Serna said

“With the drug test I knew there was some way to alleviate the penalty,” Serna said. “I was stressed out by it and I knew that if I went into school tomorrow I could ask about it directly to the athletic director or assistant principal if I was interpreting the handbook right. I knew that if I wasn’t then I figured I’d lose my chance to wrestle at state. I was concerned about the drug test but I was OK that if I did get that taken away from me I would be able to deal with it.”

He said he thought there might be a chance he would be able to do some community service and still wrestle.

2. Ely Serna attempted suicide in the summer of 2017

It was known that Ely Serna was sent to Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in the summer of 2017, but new details were disclosed as to why during the sentencing.

MORE: West Liberty school shooting suspect ordered to mental health hospital

During the testimony of Dr. Daniel Davis, a forensic psychologist who has met with Ely Serna six times since July, it was said Serna attempted suicide.

Serna has been diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety and bulimia.

3. Ely Serna may have killed animals in his youth

Selvaggio said during sentencing that Serna said during an evaluation that he killed animals growing up. The judge also said Serna later denied that he did that, but the judge took it into account when sentencing him.

It was said in court that between the ages of 9 and 15, Serna used rocks and 2-by-4 pieces of wood to kill animals. It was also alleged that he had shot a cat, which is why the gun was taken away from him. Serna said he had to retrieve the weapon from his mother’s bedroom before going to school to conduct the shooting.

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