Centerville shooting suspect pleads guilty

Jan 10 2013 - 11:57pm

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FARMINGTON -- Michael Selleneit admitted in court to shooting his neighbor in an attempt to kill him.

Selleneit, 54, of Centerville, entered guilty pleas Thursday to first-degree felony attempted murder and second-degree felony possession of a firearm by a restricted person after answering questions from 2nd District Judge Thomas L. Kay.

"Mr. Selleneit, do you admit to intentionally trying to cause the death of another?" Kay asked.

Selleneit, whose speech is impaired, said, "Yes," as clearly as he could, while trying to indicate with his shoulder and hip how he shot Tony R. Pierce on Oct. 30, 2011.

A three-day jury trial scheduled to begin Jan. 28 has been cancelled.

Selleneit will be sent to the state hospital for evaluation before he is sentenced March 28.

Depending on the outcome of the evaluation, Selleneit could be sentenced to prison or could be sentenced to the hospital.

He pleaded guilty under a rule that allows, at sentencing, for the first-degree felony to be reduced to second-degree felony attempted manslaughter for a special mitigation, such as a mental illness.

Defense attorney Julie George said the prosecutors agree Selleneit acted "under a delusion attributable to a mental illness" at the time of the shooting.

Police said Selleneit shot Pierce because he believed Pierce had been telepathically threatening to kill him and was telepathically raping Selleneit's wife.

Selleneit's wife, Meloney Toone Selleneit, 54, was found incompetent to stand trial in April and was sent to the state hospital for treatment. She is charged with first-degree felony criminal solicitation and second-degree felony purchase, transfer or possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

According to police, she told her husband "to go for it" just before he shot Pierce.

Kay ruled in September that Michael Selleneit was competent to stand trial after hearing testimony from three psychologists.

Two of the psychologists testified that Michael Selleneit understood the consequences he faced as a result of the charges and also comprehended the charges.

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