Last updated: March 03. 2013 11:47PM - 2956 Views
By - elewis@timesleader.com - (570) 991-6116

Hugo Selenski arrives at the Luzerne County Courthouse for a hearing Thursday morning. Clark Van Orden/photo
Hugo Selenski arrives at the Luzerne County Courthouse for a hearing Thursday morning. Clark Van Orden/photo
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WILKES-BARRE - Hugo Selenski had heard it before and will likely hear it again on March 15.

Prosecutors on that day will ask Luzerne County Judge Fred Pierantoni III to move the double-homicide suspect from the county prison to a state prison.

It will be the second time in the decade-old case that Selenski’s pre-trial accommodations will be argued before a judge.

Selenski’s prior attorneys, John Pike and Stephen Menn, engaged in court battles lasting several months in late 2006 and early 2007 to have Selenski housed at the county prison — the same facility from which he escaped Oct. 10, 2003 by climbing down a bedsheet rope. He surrendered three days later.

Pike and Menn, who have since withdrawn, argued they were restricted by state prison officials in meeting face-to-face with Selenski, who in late 2006 was jailed at the State Correctional Institution at Frackville.

Visits at SCI-Frackville were in a visitation room with no privacy and Selenski separated from his attorneys by a solid pane of Plexiglas through which a telephone was needed to communicate. Their meetings with Selenski, which are private under the attorney-client privilege, were monitored by a surveillance camera and transfer of documents had to pass through a state prison official, Pike and Menn said in court papers.

Selenski’s attorneys in 2006 and 2007 were told they were prohibited from having “free and unfettered” contact with him because of his designation as a high-security risk.

Selenski was shuffled back-and-forth between SCI-Frackville, the State Correctional Institutions at Dallas and Retreat and the county prison until a deal was reached with state prison officials and a Monroe County trial.

He was convicted by a Monroe County jury in 2009 in the home invasion and robbery of a jewelry store owner in January 2003. He was sentenced to 32.6 to 65 years in state prison.

Selenski was also sentenced in May 2006 to two to four years on charge he burned the bodies of two men at his then Kingston Township residence after a Luzerne County jury trial in March 2006.

State police at Wyoming and county detectives in May 2006 charged Selenski with the killings of Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett. His trial has often been delayed due to appeals and changes with defense attorneys and judges.

Prosecutors last week asked Pierantoni to have Selenski moved to a state prison based on a request from county Deputy Warden James Larson.

In a letter to District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis, Larson claimed Selenski is taking up bed space in the restrictive housing unit and a correctional officer is required to stand outside a private meeting room whenever Selenski meets with his current attorneys, Shelley Centini and Edward Rymsza.

Selenski’s trial is on hold until the state Supreme Court rules on an appeal Centini and Rymsza have filed.

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