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Witnesses Testify In Manslaughter Trial

William Shane Serrano Charged With Killing Girlfriend In Kimball

The trial for William Shane Serrano continues this week in the Kimball County Courthouse. Serrano is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend, Tessa Ghering, in Kimball last year. Other charges against Serrano include terroristic threats, attempted first-degree murder, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The Tuesday morning trial session ended with the testimony of the 10-year-old son of Serrano and Sheena Erickson. The boy appeared to be mature beyond his years, confident, well-spoken and knowledgeable, and he occasionally looked at his father, who was seated at the defense table.

Serrano teared up and was emotional during some of the child’s testimony. The boy reportedly was in the house playing video games during the incident but was not exposed to the shooting scene on January 3, 2022.

Serrano had taken the boy and another son, who was in the house, out to the garage after the shooting and called the police.

Serrano is represented by state-appointed attorney Kelly Breen and Stacy Bach, the Kimball County public defender.

The trial moved quickly after the jurors were chosen on Monday morning from more than 70 Kimball County residents called to jury duty. The courtroom was bursting at the seams during the voir dire process, which is the process used by the parties to select a fair and impartial jury. Jurors were questioned by the judge, the prosecution and the defense.

Individuals were dismissed from duty for a variety of reasons, including health concerns, extensive knowledge of the case or the defendant, family relationships with witnesses, working relationships with the victim or witnesses, scheduled meetings, and information and opinions about the case that they were unable to set aside.

Finally, by noon Monday, five women and seven men were selected as jurors with two female alternates.

After opening statements, prosecutors Special Deputy Attorney Douglas Warner and Kimball County Attorney David Wilson began calling witnesses. The prosecution’s first witness was Tessa’s father, Ryan Ghering. Ghering reportedly had never met Serrano but he had given Tessa the shotgun that is at the center of the case. Tessa and her father had spent time hunting together.

Following Tessa’s father on the stand was Kimball Police Chief Andrew Bremer. He testified that he received a call from Kimball dispatch of a shooting and was the first person on the scene. He described the location of the shooting and secured the scene and the individuals.

Additional witnesses for the state included Brandon Loy, Bryan Woods, and Dean Christensen from the Nebraska State Patrol. Each witness described and showed pictures of the investigation.

Pathologist Dr. Peter Schilke performed the autopsy on Tessa Ghering and testified as to the external and internal examination. In a graphic explanation, Schilke stated that a large portion of her head was missing, and there were multiple pellets in her head. Schilke’s expert opinion was that the blast was less than four feet away from the victim.

Following Dr. Schilke, Sheena Erikson and Shellie Pile testified about the events and phone calls from Serrano on Jan. 3.

The 13-year-old daughter of Serrano and Erickson test testified briefly about the phone calls on Jan. 3 and her relationship with Tessa Ghering.

Macy said, “I liked her.”

As of Tuesday, the trial was expected to continue until Thursday, March 16. 

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