Bond set at $1 million for Ely Serna

By Nick Walton -



Bond was established at $1 million for a juvenile charged in the January West Liberty-Salem High School shooting during a hearing Wednesday.

The matter of bond for Ely R. Serna was one of multiple subjects discussed during what was scheduled to be 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.

Following a competency hearing on May 5, the court found Serna to be competent to stand trial on May 19.

At the start of Wednesday’s proceedings, Judge Lori Reisinger noted a motion for an amenability hearing had been filed by Serna’s attorney, Dennis Lieberman, and the state filed a motion seeking a transfer of jurisdiction to bind the case over to the adult court.

In addition to these motions, a motion seeking to waive the probable cause hearing was filed by Lieberman. After this motion was discussed, the probable cause hearing was waived and the court ruled probable cause existed.

Reisinger said the court will make a decision on whether the case will be bound over or if the court will retain jurisdiction for an amenability hearing.

“The court is deciding right now as to whether or not the case is going to be bound over or not as a matter of law simply because of his age and because of the crimes that were charged and because probable cause was found,” Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said following the hearing. “The defense is requesting – based on some recent decisions from the Ohio Supreme Court – that the court retain jurisdiction and schedule what’s called an amenability hearing to determine whether or not he should be bound over. It’s the state’s position that the court doesn’t have the discretion to retain jurisdiction and that the case should as a matter of law be bound over to the adult division.”

With the other two motions pending, the question of bond was brought before both parties.

Talebi said Serna should remain incarcerated without bond, citing the multiple offenses of violence Serna is charged with, that a firearm was allegedly used in the commission of the offense and concerns about Serna’s mental stability.

After consideration, Reisinger set bond at $1 million and outlined a number of conditions Serna would have to follow if bond is posted.

These conditions included Serna being placed on electronically monitored house arrest under supervision of a responsible adult 24/7, being limited to travel only to court, his attorney’s office and medical treatment. In the event bond is posted no firearms are allowed at Serna’s residence and he cannot have contact with any victims, West Liberty-Salem employees or students except for specific exceptions ordered by the court.

Currently, Serna will remain in detention as he has so far during the pendency of the case.

Two people were injured in the shooting, including West Liberty-Salem High School student Logan Cole. Cole attended Wednesday’s hearing.


By Nick Walton

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

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