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Serrano Faces May 2 Sentencing

Jury Finds Him Guilty Of Involuntary Manslaugher, Other Charges

Found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of terrorists threats, and the commission of a felony with a firearm, William Shane Serrano will be back in Kimball County Court on May 2 for sentencing.

A pre-sentence investigation is being conducted by the probation office. According to the Sheriff’s Office, Serrano is no longer being held in the Kimball County Jail.

It took an hour and 20 minutes for the five women and seven men to reach guilty verdicts on four of the five charges in the trial of Serrano, which followed the shooting death of his girlfriend, Tessa Ghering, in Kimball last year. The only not guilty verdict was attempted first-degree murder.

The verdict was unanimous, and the judge polled each juror to affirm the results.

After three days of testimony, Thursday began with closing remarks by the Special Deputy County Attorney, State of Nebraska, in the Twelfth Judicial District, Douglas Warner, and defense attorney Kelly Breen from the Advocacy Program. The jurors were sent to the jury room at 10:55 a.m.

Judge Derek Weimar read the lengthy jury instructions and released the two alternates. He instructed them that they had to select a foreperson, and that all jurors must be able to speak freely.

The trial started on Monday with voir dire and the beginning of the state’s case. On Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, the state’s case traced the shotgun’s locations before the crime until, eventually, it was stored in the garage of the Serrano home. Witnesses then testified to the behavior of William Serrano in the days preceding the shooting.

Experts from the Nebraska State Crime Lab testified on DNA, the condition of the shotgun, and the phones.

Cole Goater, a Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab firearms expert, inspected the shotgun’s functionality. He checked the trigger and said, “It doesn’t move at all.” The conclusion was that the shotgun did not function normally and had no operating safety feature.

The prosecution completed their presentation, and Kelly Breen, the defense attorney, stated, “the defense rests.”

During the remainder of Wednesday, both sides and the judge worked out the jury instructions. Thursday morning, the state gave its closing arguments. The defense then addressed the jury with the closing, and the prosecution was able to re-address the jury. The jury retired to the jury room at 10:55 a.m. and returned to the courtroom with a verdict at 1:20 p.m.

Neither the state’s attorney nor the defense attorney would comment to the Observer about the case.