Decision forthcoming on Serna’s competency

A decision on whether Ely R. Serna is competent to stand trial should come soon, following a hearing on Friday.

No decision was made on Serna’s competency Friday after testimony was presented to the court. At the conclusion of a competency hearing, Judge Lori Reisinger said the court has 15 business days to issue a finding on whether or not he is competent to stand trial.

Reisinger noted if Serna is found competent the court would then proceed with a probable cause hearing.

Serna, 17, is facing 13 charges including two counts of attempted murder and six counts of improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation or a school safety zone stemming from a Jan. 20 shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School.

A motion to determine his competency was filed on Feb. 1 and an evaluation to determine Serna’s competency was ordered during a Feb. 3 status hearing.

Because Serna’s competency needs to be determined to proceed in the case, action on other motions such as a motion to bind the case over to the general division of the common pleas court were put on hold.

Friday’s proceedings started before noon and ran until after 5 p.m.

During an April 7 hearing, the court ruled the competency hearing would be closed to the general public at the times testimony is being taken from the authors of the competency evaluations.

This ruling included the media, meaning the Daily Citizen was not allowed in the courtroom during these portions of the proceedings.

Two people were injured in the shooting, including West Liberty-Salem High School student Logan Cole.

Cole, who returned to school in mid-February following weeks of recovery from injuries sustained in the shooting, was in attendance for Friday’s hearing.

By Nick Walton

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Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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