Ely R. Serna pleaded guilty to three charges Friday, according to a press release issued by Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi.
Serna, 18, pleaded guilty to one count each of attempted murder with a three-year firearm specification, felonious assault and inducing panic during a hearing held Friday. Serna’s guilty plea comes four days prior to when a bench trial was scheduled to start Tuesday.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place on May 2.
Serna was charged for a Jan. 20, 2017, shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School during which two students were injured including Logan Cole.
In the release, Talebi states on Friday morning Serna’s attorney, Dennis Lieberman, contacted the prosecutor’s office and indicated Serna wanted to enter a guilty plea. Upon learning of this information, the parties contacted the court and requested that a hearing be scheduled.
The court granted the request and scheduled a hearing for Friday afternoon during which Serna withdrew pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity and entered guilty pleas to the three charges.
Talebi stated Serna could receive a prison sentence of up to 23 1/2 years. Any prison sentence imposed would be served at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
Victim’s family responds to guilty plea
In a statement sent to the media, Ryan Cole, Logan’s father, thanked local law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office for their work on the case.
“We would like to sincerely thank the Champaign County Sheriff’s department and specifically the Prosecutor’s Office for their hard work over the past 14 months,” Ryan Cole stated. “Prosecutor Kevin Talebi and Victim Advocate Alisa Wilson have been very respectful of Logan and our family and have been considerate of our feelings and opinions during this process.
“We believe that Kevin has made a good decision with regard to the plea agreement. Although we have frustrations with some aspects of the legal system, the results of some of the evaluations done, and the penalties associated with very serious crimes, we believe Kevin and the prosecutor’s office made the best decision given the totality of the developments to date.
“We would like to say again that we could not be more thankful for the community that we are surrounded by, the support and love of friends and family, and to God for the miracle of Logan’s survival and recovery.”
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.