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Selenski homicide charges will stay


February 19. 2013 12:40PM


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WILKES-BARRE – The state Superior Court said in a ruling Thursday it will not reconsider its decision to not dismiss homicide charges against Hugo Selenski, who is accused in a double homicide.


The ruling came more than a month after Selenski's attorneys asked the entire court of 15 judges to reconsider an Aug. 28 ruling made by three judges denying a request to throw out the charges based on a claim of double jeopardy.


Shelley Centini and Edward Rymsza, Selenski's attorneys, now have 30 days to make an appeal to the state Supreme Court.


Attorneys in the case are prohibited from commenting due to a court-imposed gag order.


Selenski, 39, is awaiting trial in the May 2002 deaths of Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett, both 38. Their bodies were unearthed from the Kingston Township property where Selenski lived in June 2003.


Centini and Rymsza argued the charges in the Kerkowski/Fassett case should have been tried at the same time Selenski had a trial regarding the deaths of Frank James and Adeiye Keiler in May 2003 because they arose out of the same criminal episode.


A Luzerne County jury acquitted Selenski of the James and Keiler slayings in March 2006. But Selenski was convicted of burning their bodies at the Mount Olivet Road home where he lived at the time.


The defense said all victims were found at the same location, both homicides were connected to drugs and money, and both crimes involved the same investigators and primary witnesses.


In the defense attorneys' request to have the Superior Court reconsider, the attorneys wrote it is clear the two incidents arose from the same criminal episode and that the charges came from one continuous investigation by law enforcement.


Prosecutors did not offer a detailed response to the defense attorneys' request to the Superior Court, but filed a short notice that it would rely on the Aug. 28 ruling.


That decision arose from rulings county Judge Fred Pierantoni made regarding Selenski's case shortly before a trial was to begin on Sept. 10. Selenski's attorneys then appealed to the Superior Court.


Prosecutors attempted to have the appeal stopped, stating it was frivolous and a tactic to delay Selenski's trial.




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