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

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 2:50 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 6:15 PM

Ely Serna was back in Champaign County Common Pleas Court for a motion hearing.

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.

Three charged after Middletown High School cafeteria fight

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 4:02 PM


            Middletown High School, which is undergoing renovations and expansion to be finished in 2018, will also house the school system’s first in-school health clinic. The clinic will be opened in August 2018.
Middletown High School, which is undergoing renovations and expansion to be finished in 2018, will also house the school system’s first in-school health clinic. The clinic will be opened in August 2018.

Three Middletown High School students were charged with assault following a “major altercation” Monday in the cafeteria, police said.

The fight occurred during lunch period and involved at least three students, all juveniles, said Lt. David Birk from the Middletown Division of Police.

He said a male student was charged with two counts of assault and one count of disorderly conduct, Birk said.

MORE POPULAR NEWS: Police: Man uses drugs in medical facility restroom

Two female students were charged with one count of assault, Birk said.

All three are scheduled to appear in Butler County Juvenile Court on Feb. 13, Birk said.

Birk said School Resource Officer Luke Agee broke up the fight. Birk said he couldn’t discuss how Agree apprehended the subjects.

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The male student was treated by the school nurse, Birk said.

Middletown Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. said he couldn’t discuss the specifics of the incident because of the students’ privacy.

Police: Man uses drugs in medical facility restroom

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 1:20 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 3:59 PM


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A Middletown man told police he used heroin while in a bathroom of a Middletown medical facility Monday afternoon.

Brandon Perdue, 21, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and he was transported to Atrium Medical Center for evaluation, according to the police report.

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Around noon on Monday, police responded to Centerpoint Health, 231 N. Breiel Blvd., on a report that a man may be using drugs in the bathroom. After Perdue left the bathroom, medical staff said they smelled a “strange odor” believed to be narcotics, the report said.

When police arrived, Perdue allegedly was back in the restroom. When police knocked on the door, they heard the toilet flushing and water running, and Perdue would not open the door.

Police unlocked the door and placed Perdue in handcuffs. He had blood on his hands, and he was “clearly under the influence” of a narcotic, the report said.

Police found tape and Band-Aids on Perdue, the report said. Perdue was there with the mother of their two children, the report said.

Deputies: 2 arrested after 3-month-old child, 51 pounds of heroin, found in SUV

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 3:50 PM

Deputies in Rankin County, Mississippi, arrested two women on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, after they said they seized 51 pounds of heroin from an SUV the women were driving.
Rankin County Sheriff's Office
Deputies in Rankin County, Mississippi, arrested two women on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, after they said they seized 51 pounds of heroin from an SUV the women were driving.(Rankin County Sheriff's Office)

Deputies in Mississippi arrested two women Monday night on suspicion of drug trafficking after authorities said they found 51 pounds of heroin and a 3-month-old child in an SUV the women were driving.

>> Read more trending news

A deputy pulled over a Ford SUV on Interstate 20 in Rankin County on Monday night for an unspecified traffic violation. Authorities said that during the stop, the deputy became suspicious that the SUV was being used to transport drugs or contraband.

Deputies said the women in the vehicle, driver Arlene Viridiana Moya, 23, and passenger Trisha Lynne Ibarra, 23, allowed authorities to search the SUV. Inside, deputies said they found 51 pounds of heroin concealed in the vehicle.

Deputies in Rankin County, Mississippi, arrested 23-year-old Arlene Viridiana Moya, left, and 23-year-old Trisha Lynne Ibarra, right, on suspicion of drug trafficking on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.(Rankin County Sheriff's Office)

Deputies estimated the drugs were worth between $2 million and $10 million.

Authorities also found Ibarra’s 3-month-old child in the SUV, deputies said. Rankin County Court Judge Tom Broome ordered the toddler be taken into the custody of Child Protective Services.

Moya, of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Ibarra, of Laredo, Texas, were arrested on charges of aggravated trafficking of heroin.

Authorities continue to investigate the case.

Franklin woman pleads guilty in fraud of more than $370,000

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 3:26 PM


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A Franklin woman pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of fraudulent income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service, impeding the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws and wire fraud in a case involving a fraud of $378,954, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Vickie McNabb, 54, of Franklin, pleaded guilty to the charges last Friday, according to a press release issued Tuesday.

“The conduct detailed in this case is egregious and exposed the defendant for who she really is, a thief,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, in the press release. “McNabb not only defrauded the IRS and stole from her employers, she caused significant financial harm to her clients, as well as her employers.”

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According to court records, the case was referred for a pre-sentence investigation, and McNabb is scheduled for sentencing on April 19 at 1 p.m. in federal court in Dayton.

According to the press release, court documents show that between January 2009 and January 2017, McNabb worked as an income tax return preparer or bookkeeper in the Dayton area.

She filed fraudulent income tax returns for “many of her clients without their knowledge and she embezzled money from two employers, International Display Systems, Inc. and Bill Dailey Stables.”

She prepared income tax returns for taxpayers that included Forms 8888 in order to steal part of the income tax refunds owed to the taxpayers and prepared income tax returns for taxpayers and provided them with copies, which showed their anticipated income tax refund, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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But nearly 50 times, McNabb filed different income tax returns with the IRS that contained increased expenses, additional tax credits and additional schedules in order to inflate the amount of the income tax refunds, according to prosecutors.

The forms 8888 were used to divert the false income tax refunds into a bank account that she controlled. In those instances, the taxpayers received their anticipated income tax refunds and McNabb received the difference.

MORE: No prison time in $1.7 million fraud case

McNabb also failed to list herself as the income tax return preparer on the filed income tax returns, as required, making it appear as if every income tax return was actually prepared by the taxpayer.

McNabb also interfered with the due administration of the IRS by stealing payments provided to her by a taxpayer that she was supposed to turn over to the IRS in order to pay the taxpayer’s income tax liabilities.