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Michael Selleneit, Utah Man, Shoots Neighbor For 'Telepathically Threatening' Him: Police


First Posted: 11/01/11 05:26 PM ET Updated: 11/02/11 08:15 PM ET

A Utah man shot and severely wounded a neighbor who he believed had been "telepathically threatening" him and his wife, according to police.

Michael Selleneit, 53, is accused of opening fire on Tony Pierce at around 4:55 p.m. on Oct. 30 in their Centerville trailer park, hitting the 41-year-old victim in the back and the leg.

"It was totally unprovoked. The victim was working in his yard with his back to the shooter," Lt. Paul Child, of the Centerville Police Department, told Fox 13. "There was no argument or anything that precipitated this particular event."

Pierce underwent emergency surgery resulting in the removal of his spleen, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

"The victim's condition has been upgraded to stable this morning," Child told The Huffington Post.

For his part, Selleneit reportedly claims he fired on his neighbor in self-defense.

The suspect insisted to investigators that Pierce had been "telepathically threatening" himself and his wife, and claimed his neighbor "had telepathically raped his wife on many occasions," police told The Tribune.

Selleneit, has a "diminished mental capacity," according to Fox 13. Police say he believed Pierce was attempting to break into his trailer -- an allegation the suspect had lobbed at other neighbors before.

Investigators recovered a .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun believed to have been used in the attack. Police say Selleneit is not allowed to own a firearm due to a 1990 conviction for forcible sexual abuse of a child.

The suspect has been charged with attempted homicide and possession of a firearm by a restricted person and he is being held without bail, Child told The Huffington Post.

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Filed by Ben Muessig  |  Report Corrections