The results of an evaluation finding Ely R. Serna competent to stand trial and a request for another mental health evaluation were discussed Friday.
During a status conference on the competency evaluation, Judge Nick Selvaggio said the competency evaluation report from the Forensic Psychiatry Center for Western Ohio found Serna competent to stand trial.
Serna, 17, was indicted in June on 13 charges stemming from a Jan. 20 shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School.
Selvaggio said the court will order Serna to remain at the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare Facility in order to maintain his competency to stand trial. Selvaggio noted Serna could be transferred at a time when Twin Valley determines his competency is no longer a threat and should be transported back to the Central Ohio Youth Center.
A motion to determine Serna’s competency was granted on July 20 after it was requested by Serna’s attorney, Dennis Lieberman, on July 7. Serna was transferred from the Central Ohio Youth Center to the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare Facility in June after the youth center informed the court it was investigating events which indicated Serna needed additional mental health services.
As part of granting the motion to determine competency, the court requested for separate reports to be prepared on the issue of competence to stand trial and Serna’s mental condition at the time of the offense.
After discussing competency to stand trial on Friday, Selvaggio referenced a report on Serna’s mental condition at the time of the alleged offense. The results of this report were not disclosed during Friday’s hearing.
Selvaggio noted the court was made aware of a motion for a second mental health evaluation had been filed by Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi on Friday.
Within this motion, Talebi requests the court order a second evaluation of Serna’s mental condition at the time of the alleged offense. As part of this request Talebi asked for Dr. Daniel Hrinko, of Hrinko Forensic and Clinical Psychology, to perform the evaluation.
Talebi further requested that the court orders all nursing notes, medical records along with all psychiatric and mental health assessments, testing and treatment records be released to Hrinko so he may consider them as part of his independent evaluation.
Talebi said this motion was in reference to a not guilty by reason of insanity plea which was previously filed.
The court and the two parties held a lengthy conversation about the motion particularly on the request seeking to provide Hrinko all nursing notes, medical records, psychiatric and mental health assessments, testing and treatment records.
Selvaggio said the court’s order would be similar to what was issued to Dr. Barbra Bergman meaning Talebi and Lieberman shall provide the appropriate discovery to Hrinko and the court will provide a copy of the grand jury indictment.
Following the discussion on the motion, Selvaggio said other matters which needed to be discussed included scheduling hearings on a motion to suppress, a motion to dismiss and the general concept of speedy trial.
Previously, motions seeking to suppress statements and to dismiss the case were filed by Lieberman.
In the motion to suppress, the defense seeks to suppress statements and evidence from Serna’s interrogation with law enforcement following the shooting. Lieberman stated in the motion that Serna’s Miranda rights were not knowingly and voluntarily waived by Serna and requested the court suppress any and all evidence “which is the fruit of the illegal interrogation.”
The motion to dismiss sought to dismiss and transfer the case back to the juvenile division of the Champaign County Common Pleas Court. Within that motion, Lieberman asked the court to dismiss the case due to a lack of jurisdiction and transfer the case to the juvenile division for further proceedings.
Selvaggio noted Friday as long as the suppression issue is active the case should be fine regarding the matter of speedy trial.
After the court was informed by Lieberman that the defense wants to continue with these motions, a hearing on both motions was scheduled for Oct. 23. If the hearing does not conclude on that date, Selvaggio said it will continue on Oct. 26 or 27.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.
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