This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The wife of a Centerville man who allegedly shot and wounded his neighbor because he believed the man had "telepathically" threatened him has been accused of illegally buying the weapon for her husband, and then urging him to shoot the victim last month.
Melony Toone Selleneit, 53, was charged Tuesday in 2nd District Court with one count each of first-degree criminal solicitation and second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person. She was booked late Tuesday morning into Davis County jail, where she was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Prosecutors allege that on Nov. 10, Michael L. Selleneit shot 41-year-old Tony Pierce, who was working in the yard outside his home at 555 N. 400 West. The bullet entered Pierce's back. His family has said he is improving as he slowly recovers from his injuries.
Immediately before the shooting, Melony Selleneit had discussed her husband's desire to shoot and kill Pierce, and told him to "go ahead" and "go for it," according to charging documents.
In interviews with investigators, the woman "admitted that she encouraged Mr. Selleneit to shoot the victim and that she was unsure if Mr. Selleneit would have shot Mr. Pierce without her encouragement," court documents state.
Michael Selleneit has told police he was acting in self-defense when he shot Pierce. He claimed his neighbor had "telepathically" threatened him and his wife, and had "telepathically raped" his wife many times.
Charged with first-degree attempted murder and second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, Michael Selleneit has been ordered by a judge to undergo a mental health evaluation.
Michael Selleneit has a history of mental problems. In 1990, he was sentenced to up to five years at the Utah State Hospital on a third-degree felony charge of attempted sexual abuse of a child. According to court documents, Selleneit was at Lakeview Hospital receiving psychiatric treatment when he put his hands under the clothing of a teenage janitorial employee.
The incident resulted in a civil lawsuit against Selleneit and the hospital. It was Selleneit's second child sex-abuse conviction. In 1988, while living in Idaho, he was found guilty of sexually abusing a child under the age of 16.
In 1990, doctors then expressed concerns that Selleneit "may have suicidal ideology as well as homicidal tendency," according to court documents. But doctors later said they believed Selleneit did not present a "substantial danger to himself and others," and therefore did not qualify for involuntary hospitalization, and he was released.
Because of Michael Selleneit's convictions, he was not allowed to legally possess a gun.
Prosecutors allege the handgun used to shoot Pierce was purchased about 10 years ago by Melony Selleneit, and that the couple kept the weapon under Michael Selleneit's pillow on their bed.
A search of Utah's court records indicates that aside from minor traffic offenses, Melony Selleneit has no prior criminal record.
Melony Selleneit is set for an initial court appearance on Dec. 7. Her husband is to appear next in court on Jan. 26.