Joshua Morrison/News Caleb Sarge, left, appeared with Knox County Public Defender John Pyle on Wednesday afternoon via video from the Knox County Jail to enter a not guilty plea to charges brought the murder of John Serio, 41.
Joshua Morrison/News
Caleb Sarge, left, appeared with Knox County Public Defender John Pyle on Wednesday afternoon via video from the Knox County Jail to enter a not guilty plea to charges brought the murder of John Serio, 41.

MOUNT VERNON — A Knox County Common Pleas Court judge ordered a competency evaluation for Caleb Sarge at a bond hearing Wednesday.

Sarge, 27, appeared in court via video from the Knox County Jail. Sarge is charged with felony counts of murder and tampering with evidence in the death of John Serio, 41, who died from a single gunshot to the chest Nov. 25.

Sarge plead not guilty to the charges.

Sarge’s bond was initially set at $500,000 in Mount Vernon Municipal Court Nov. 26. The case has since been moved to Common Pleas court.

Prosecuting Attorney Chip McConville requested Sarge’s bond to be set at $500,000 without a 10 percent bail. McConville argued that Sarge has no strong ties to Ohio, and cited a police interview in which Sarge said he “wanted to move to West Virginia and start a trap house.”

Public defender John Pyle offered that Sarge, if released on bond, could stay with his mother in Columbus or brother in Blacklick, Ohio.

Pyle requested the bond to be lowered to $50,000 with a 10 percent bail.

Based on the hearing, Judge Richard Wetzel ordered that Sarge undergo a competency evaluation.

Sarge will be held at the county jail without bond until the evaluation is done; at which point another hearing will be scheduled to set bond.

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