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Police: Shooter says neighbor 'telepathically' threatened him, wife

Published November 1, 2011 7:12 am

Centerville • Victim still fighting for life after vital organs hit.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated.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 man who shot his neighbor Sunday in Centerville claimed he did it in self-defense, according to jail documents.

The neighbor, Tony Pierce, 41, remained in a battle for his life Monday.

The bullet that entered his back hit several vital organs, including the sac around his heart. His spleen was removed in surgery, said Lt. Paul Child of the Centerville Police Department.

Police arrested Michael Selleneit, 53, who was charged Monday with felony counts of attempted murder and unlawful weapon possession. The attempted murder charge carries the possibility of up to life in prison.

According to a probable cause statement filed with the Davis County jail, Selleneit told detectives he shot Pierce in self-defense with intent to kill him. Selleneit claimed Pierce had been "telepathically threatening" to kill Selleneit and his wife.

"Selleneit also claimed that Pierce had telepathically raped his wife on many occasions," police wrote in the statement.

Police emphasized again on Monday that Selleneit had been making such accusations for years and there was no validity to them.

"Centerville Police has never found any evidence to indicate that these allegations were true," Childs said.

Selleneit called 911 after the shooting and told police where to find his .380-caliber pistol, according to the probable cause statement.

Centerville officer Rolynn Snow said Sunday that Selleneit was cooperating and accurately answering questions for detectives .

In 1991, Selleneit pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a felony count of attempted sexual abuse of a child, a conviction that prohibits him from possessing a gun. Centerville police said Monday they believe Selleneit's wife purchased the gun at a pawn shop a year ago.

The shooting happened at about 5 p.m. Sunday at a trailer park at 555 N. 400 West. Pierce was working in his yard when Selleneit started shooting, Centerville police have said. One bullet struck Pierce in the leg and another the struck him in the back.

His wife was initially taken into custody and questioned but later released to family members.

Pierce's 8-year-old daughter was in the trailer during the shooting but was not harmed, police said.

On Monday, Selleneit was being held without bail at the Davis County jail.

smcfarland@sltrib.com

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