Caleb Sarge

Knox County Common Pleas Court Bailiff David Lashley (left) escorts Caleb Sarge (right) out of the courtroom on Thursday. Sarge was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 21 years for murdering John Serio Jr. in his Mount Vernon home in November 2019.

MOUNT VERNON – Caleb Sarge received the maximum sentence Thursday for murdering John Serio Jr. in his Mount Vernon home in November 2019.

Knox County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Wetzel sentenced Sarge, 28, to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 21 years.

He faced 15-years-to-life for the murder, plus three years for a gun specification and three years for tampering with evidence.

A Knox County jury found Sarge guilty on all three counts in March. Wetzel handed down the maximum sentence Thursday, choosing to run each sentence consecutively.

Wetzel heard emotional testimony from both Sarge and three members of Serio Jr.'s family in the courtroom before announcing the sentence.

"It was a long, difficult case. I think we were able to achieve some justice for the Serio family," Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville said afterward. "I asked for the court to impose the maximum sentence and the court did. I'm very happy about that."

Sarge shot and killed the 41-year-old Serio Jr. at his North Sandusky Street residence on Nov. 25, 2019. The incident came after an alleged dispute over drugs and money.

Sarge's trial lasted four days, featuring 19 witnesses and 96 pieces of evidence. Multiple witnesses testified that on the night of the murder, Sarge had asked them to help him hide the body. He also admitted to placing Serio Jr.'s cell phone in a pot of water after the incident.

This was Knox County's first murder trial since 2018, when Kevin Remillard was convicted of murdering his 20-year-old cousin, Nick, at their Gambier home the year prior. Remillard faced identical charges and received an identical sentence.

This is a developing story. Check back later for more details on today's sentencing.

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Staff Reporter

Grant is a 2018 graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he studied journalism and played basketball. He likes coffee, books and minor league baseball. He loves telling stories and has a passion for local news.