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Utah woman in 'telepathic rape' case deemed competent for trial

Published August 1, 2013 3:32 pm

Courts • Meloney Selleneit allegedly illegally bought gun husband used to shoot neighbor.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Farmington • The case against a Centerville woman accused of urging her husband to shoot their neighbor is moving forward, following more than a year of treatment at the Utah State Hospital.

Meloney Selleneit, 55, was ruled competent to stand trial in June, and was moved from the state hospital to the Davis County Jail. She appeared in Farmington's 2nd District Court on Thursday, where her attorney asked for more time to work on her case. She will appear in court again on Sept. 5.

Her husband, 55-year-old Michael Selleneit, shot their neighbor, Tony Pierce, in October 2011 after claiming that Pierce was "telepathically raping" his wife.

In January, Michael Selleneit pleaded guilty and mentally ill to reduced charges of attempted manslaughter and use of a firearm by a restricted person, both second-degree felonies.

The husband was sentenced in May to serve two consecutive one-to-15 years terms at the Utah State Prison. However, Judge Thomas Kay ruled that he could be confined to the state hospital until doctors determine he no longer needs treatment. At that time, he would be taken to the prison.

Meloney Selleneit has been at the state hospital since last March, when she was deemed incompetent to proceed with trial. The woman is charged with first-degree felony criminal solicitation and second-degree felony possession of a weapon by a restricted person.

The husband's mental competency was questioned repeatedly after the shooting, but Kay ruled last September that he was competent to stand trial because the state statute requires only that a defendant be able to understand the charges against him and assist in his defense. Kay said Michael Selleneit was capable of both, though mental health evaluators were split on his competency.

Meloney Selleneit is accused of illegally purchasing the weapon that her husband used to shoot Pierce on Nov. 10, 2011. Pierce was working in the yard outside his home at 55 N. 400 West when Michael Selleneit shot him once in the back. Pierce survived the shooting, but said in a statement at Michael Selleneit's sentencing that he still experiences back pain every day as a result of the shooting.

According to previous testimony, Michael Selleneit believed Pierce was having sex parties with his wife and was using crack cocaine to control her mind.







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