caleb sarge
Caleb Sarge

MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon man was indicted on a murder charge by the Dec. 2 Knox County grand jury.

The grand jury indicted Caleb Sarge, 27, on murder and tampering with evidence. The murder charge is an unclassified felony, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years. The charges also include a gun specification which can add 3 years to the sentence.

Sarge was arrested Nov. 25 in the murder of 41-year-old John Serio. Serio was reportedly living at Sarge’s Sandusky Street residence when the murder occurred. McConville said authorities have some idea of what the altercation might have been about but cannot divulge further at this stage of the investigation.

Tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, was brought against Sarge after investigators discovered Serio’s cellphone submerged in a saucepan of water at the crime scene.

McConville said the cellphone — the tampered evidence in question — has been sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) to extract any recoverable information.

The ongoing investigation efforts include ballistics by the BCI, an autopsy by the Licking County Coroner’s Office on Nov. 26 and toxicology tests being conducted in Montgomery County. The final report could take up to 6 – 8 weeks.

A previously unidentified female who made the original call to the police has been identified but has not been named by the prosecuting attorney’s office.

The arraignment is expected to happen this week for Sarge. The case was originally filed in municipal court and moved to the felony court.

Sarge’s bond in municipal court was set at $500,000, and McConville said that he will pursue the same bond amount as the case proceeds in common pleas court.

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Eli Chung: 740-397-5333 or eli@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @