Teen charged in school shooting enters insanity plea
URBANA — A 17-year-old boy charged in an Ohio school shooting that wounded two students has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Ely Serna is charged with attempted murder, felonious assault and other offenses in the Jan. 20 shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School. His attorney entered Serna’s plea through motions this week in Champaign County Pleas Common Pleas Court.
Authorities allege Serna fired a shotgun at a classmate in a school bathroom, critically wounding him, and then fired at classrooms. Another student was slightly injured at the school in West Liberty, about 55 miles (89 kilometers) northwest of Columbus.
The judge has ordered a competency hearing.
Serna’s case was transferred from juvenile court to adult court. Serna’s attorney has asked that it be transferred back to juvenile court.
Bill calls for construction of Aviation Hall of Fame
DAYTON — Backers of a proposed Ohio Aviation Hall of Fame say the birthplace of the Wright brothers should honor its flight pioneers as other states do.
The National Aviation Hall of Fame is in Dayton. Yet supporters say a state-specific hall is needed to honor aviators who didn’t rise to national prominence.
A Dayton newspaper reports that a bill in the Ohio House calls for a hall of fame to be built as part of a proposed $21 million “Triumph of Flight” monument near Dayton. Supporters for years have pushed the idea of a monument topped with a replica of a Wright brothers’ plane, but funding has been hard to find.
A study led by University of Dayton students found that 34 states have aviation halls of fame.
Gas prices rise, but lower than national average
COLUMBUS — Gas prices around Ohio have risen a bit but remain lower than the national average.
Ohio’s average for regular fuel was $2.17 per gallon in Monday’s survey from auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and WEX Inc. That’s up from $2.12 a week ago but down from $2.35 at this time last year.
The national average was $2.26 on Monday, down three pennies from last week. It’s a nickel cheaper than a year ago.
AAA says consumers have been benefiting from low prices at the pump because of strong oil production and low demand for gas.
Ohio’s budget gap exceeds $1B over 2 years
COLUMBUS — Final estimates place Ohio’s projected budget shortfall at more than $1 billion.
Legislative budget analysts told the opening day of a conference committee working to meet a June 30 budget deadline that tax revenues are expected to lag projections by $1.02 billion over the two-year budget cycle. The state is also expected to see its share of Medicaid caseload costs exceed estimates by $59 million over the period.
The Legislative Service Commission estimates were in line with what lawmakers had begun to expect. The budget bill that cleared the Ohio Senate on Wednesday already proposed ways to close the gap.
Republican legislative leaders and GOP Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) went public with concerns in April that there would be a revenue shortfall of at least $800 million.
Democrats enter 2018 races for treasurer, auditor
COLUMBUS — Two more Democrats in Ohio have launched campaigns for statewide office in 2018.
Former University of Cincinnati board chairman Rob Richardson Jr. has filed to run for state treasurer and former U.S. Rep. Zack Space has filed to run for state auditor.
Their decisions give Democrats at least one candidate for each of next year’s open statewide races. The five sitting Republicans are all term-limited.
Richardson, a labor attorney, came in third in the Cincinnati mayor’s race in May. That marked his first bid for elective office.
Space, of Dover, spent two terms representing the 18th Congressional District in southeast Ohio before being unseated by Republican Bob Gibbs in 2010. He now works as a lawyer at the Columbus law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease.
Plea hearing set for man accused of links to IS
COLUMBUS — A federal judge has rescheduled a plea hearing for an Ohio man accused of trying to travel to Libya to join the Islamic State group.
Documents filed in federal court say Aaron Daniels, of Columbus, will plead guilty to one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Authorities allege Daniels wired $250 to an Islamic State operative in January 2016 and told an undercover informant he was interested in traveling to commit violence overseas.
Daniels was taken into custody last year at John Glenn Columbus International Airport after a months-long investigation.
Judge Edmond Sargus on Friday rescheduled Daniels’ plea hearing to July 6 from June 29.
Daniel faces 20 years in prison. A message was left with his attorney seeking comment.