breaking news

4 arrests made in connection to 2016 Pike County murders

West Liberty school shooting suspect to stay in adult court, trial set


The suspect in the 2017 West Liberty-Salem High School shooting will stay in adult court and has a new trial date.

The state is expected to present its evidence against Ely Serna, now 18, starting April 10. The trial is expected to last through April 20.

MORE: West Liberty school shooting suspect Ely Serna to appear in court

Serna is charged with numerous felonies, including two counts of attempted murder, in connection with the Jan. 20, 2017, school shooting. He’s accused of sneaking a shotgun into West Liberty High School and shooting student Logan Cole twice in the chest. He’s also accused of shooting at a teacher and toward classrooms.

Serna was in Champaign County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday for a motion hearing that requested the case be moved back to juvenile court so another hearing could take place to see if Serna could be rehabilitated in that court system.

EXTRA: West Liberty school shooting suspect found competent for trial

Judge Nick Selvaggio denied the motion.

Serna had been moved to the Tri-County Jail recently, defense attorney Dennis Leiberman said. The defense had asked the court to allow Serna to appear in court in street clothes because they feared jail uniforms could taint a potential jury pool.

Selvaggio denied that request for court hearings, saying security reasons and the dangers of setting a precedent wouldn’t allow him to do so. Serna will be allowed to wear street clothes at trial.

The defense also made a motion to suppress statements made by Serna to law enforcement after the school shooting. Serna has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and the defense contends he couldn’t waive his constitutional Miranda right at the time.

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 that motion. Serna is due back in court on Feb. 13 for a suppression hearing.

READ: West Liberty suspect asked victim to shoot him, report says

If the court does decide to suppress his statements to police, Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said in court that it would not be fatal to his case.

At this time, Talebi said, the state anticipates calling about 30 to 35 witnesses during the trial.

The defense is also exploring whether they might waive their rights to a jury trial and instead have a bench trial, Lieberman said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Crime

Sinclair considers spending $4.5M to improve 2 major streets around campus
Sinclair considers spending $4.5M to improve 2 major streets around campus

Sinclair Community College appears to be moving forward with a plan to make major changes to Fourth and Fifth streets near its downtown campus. Sinclair’s board of trustees will vote today on whether to spend $4.5 million on changes and updates to the streets that have long been in the works as part of the school’s strategic plan. If approved...
Commentary: Extreme weather can happen anywhere
Commentary: Extreme weather can happen anywhere

The wild fires in California have inhabited my nightmares this week and I’ve repeatedly given thanks that we do not have fires like that here in Ohio. We lived in Los Angeles before moving here and have been face to face with a 12-foot wall of flame heading in our direction while we were camping. Having to quickly evacuate a campground once was...
Minnesota man loses 147 pounds to join Marines
Minnesota man loses 147 pounds to join Marines

A Minnesota man wanted to become a Marine, but he was facing a weighty problem.  However, Tyler Nelson dropped 147 pounds in eight months to fulfill his dream, KEYC reported. Now weighing 220 pounds, he will shipping out for boot camp in December. >> Read more trending news  Nelson weighed 367 pounds in March, and was told by U...
Chick-fil-A delivering nationwide with DoorDash, giving away free sandwiches
Chick-fil-A delivering nationwide with DoorDash, giving away free sandwiches

Chick-fil-A is now delivering its popular chicken sandwiches and other menu items to your door. The Atlanta-based fast-food restaurant announced Tuesday that it is partnering with DoorDash to deliver from more than 1,100 locations nationwide. >> Read more trending news  “So many of our guests’ busy lives and family commitments...
Shop for a worthy cause at the Sugarplum Festival of Trees
Shop for a worthy cause at the Sugarplum Festival of Trees

You’ll find the perfect holiday gift and all your shopping will benefit our local children’s hospital at the annual Sugarplum Festival of Trees.  Open this weekend at the Dayton Masonic Center, the event will have a holiday boutique filled with homemade gifts, decorations, wreaths and ornaments. Beautifully decorated full-sized designer...
More Stories