Court Briefs

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]

Domestic assault charges

dismissed after man’s death

WILKES-BARRE — Prosecutors dismissed domestic violence charges against Kaylea Louise Austin, 27, during a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Luzerne County Central Court.

Sugar Notch police charged Austin with simple assault, reckless endangerment, harassment and driving with a suspended license after investigating a report she shoved her stepfather, John Vassello, during a dispute at their home on Main Street on May 29.

Vassello claimed Austin shoved him, causing him to twist his knee and fall to the ground, striking his head, according to court records.

Hours later, Vassello, 64, was found dead inside the basement of his residence.

An autopsy revealed Vassello died of natural causes unrelated to the domestic dispute, according to the county coroner’s office.

All charges were withdrawn against Austin.

Selenski’s daughter facing

trial on single assault count

WILKES-BARRE — A woman charged by Edwardsville police after a dispute with her boyfriend waived her right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Luzerne County Central Court.

Jamie Bartoo, 25, the daughter of convicted double-murderer Hugo Selenski, will now face a single count of simple assault in county court.

Prosecutors withdrew charges of disorderly conduct, harassment and public drunkenness.

Police charged Bartoo after her boyfriend, Jeffrey Tyler, 29, claimed she arrived home and started yelling at him because he was playing video games May 29.

Tyler alleged Bartoo was out drinking with Kim Kerkowski and attacked him, leaving scratches on his neck, chest and arms.

Kim Kerkowski was the estranged wife of Michael Kerkowski who, along with Tammy Fassett, were tortured and killed by Selenski and Paul Weakley in May 2002.

The bodies of Michael Kerkowski and Fassett were found buried outside a Kingston Township residence where Selenski lived in June 2003.

Selenski was convicted of their murders and is serving two life sentences in state prison. Weakley is serving life in a federal prison.

Mother, grandma to stand

trial in endangerment case

WILKES-BARRE — A mother and a grandmother charged with endangering the welfare of a child waived their rights to preliminary hearings Wednesday in Luzerne County Central Court.

Tatiana Iesha Denise Moore, 20, and her mother, Trisella Denise Hubbard, 42, both of West Main Street, Nanticoke, will now face child endangerment charges in county court.

Nanticoke police charged Moore and Hubbard on May 30 after investigating reports they failed to supervise Moore’s 2-year-old boy. The child was found twice outside their residence without supervision on April 17 and May 16, authorities say.

Police further allege the toddler was hanging out a second-floor window of their residence on May 16.

By Ed Lewis

[email protected]