West Liberty school shooting suspect ordered to mental health hospital

The teen accused of opening fire at West Liberty-Salem High School has been admitted to a mental health hospital because he posed a, “substantial risk of physical harm to himself or others,” according to court records.

Ely Serna, 17, faces several charges, including attempted murder, in connection with the school shooting on Jan. 20 that left another student seriously injured. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

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Serna was admitted to Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare on July 6 after mental health professionals visited him at the Central Ohio Youth Center and said he was, “subject to hospitalization by court order,” court records say.

His attorney submitted a request to have the teen evaluated for competency on July 7. Prosecutors will respond to the request before the judge decides if the evaluation will be allowed, Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said.

Serna’s attorney also filed a motion to suppress statements and other evidence in the case, according to court records. A hearing on the matter had been scheduled for Thursday in Champaign County Common Pleas court.

But the hearing has been cancelled until the motion regarding competency is resolved, Champaign County Common Pleas Court Judge Nick Selvaggio said in court records.

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Serna’s case was recently transferred to adult court from Champaign County Juvenile Court. His attorney, Dennis Lieberman, has also requested the case be returned to juvenile court. He previously told the Springfield News-Sun he has specific reasons why he believes his client was insane at the time of the shooting. However, he declined to give those reasons in an interview.

Investigators allege Serna brought a shotgun to school and opened fire. Logan Cole was shot twice and was left with more than 100 shotgun pellets in his body. Another student was grazed by pellets but not seriously injured.

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