Hugo Selenski escape case set to be challenged today

First Posted: 2/4/2015 11:35:17 AM

HARRISBURG – A hearing is scheduled this morning before the Pennsylvania Superior Court regarding a challenge by Luzerne County prosecutors attempting to reinstate escape charges against double-homicide suspect Hugo Selenski.
Selenski, who is currently awaiting trial in Luzerne County in connection with the slayings of pharmacist Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett, escaped from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on Oct. 10, 2003 by climbing out a window using a rope made from bedsheets. He surrendered to authorities three days after the escape.
Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. threw out the escape charges, saying prosecutors did not bring Selenski to trial within 365 days, as prescribed by law.
When the ruling came down, District Attorney David W. Lupas immediately appealed to the Superior Court.
Selenski was charged with two counts of homicide a few days before the escape; Police said he killed Frank James and Adeiye Keiler at his Kingston Township home before burning their bodies. Earlier this year, a jury cleared him of those homicide charges.
The homicide and escape cases were filed separately in county court but had been scheduled to go to trial at the same time. Prosecutors had 365 days to bring Selenski to trial in the cases.
An appeal in the homicide case delayed the start of the trial related to James and Keiler, and prosecutors, according to Olszewski’s ruling, never consolidated the escape case with the homicide case.
But because the cases were not consolidated, the appeal did not relate to the escape case and Selenski had to be tried on the escape charges before 365 days elapsed.
For the complete story, read Thursday’s edition of The Times Leader.