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Selenski lawyers file new appeal


February 19. 2013 6:13PM
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WILKES-BARRE ‚?? Attorneys for Hugo Selenski have asked the state‚??s highest court to hear an appeal regarding homicide charges being thrown out against their client.


Selenski‚??s attorneys had until Monday to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court regarding a lower courts decision to not dismiss charges or reconsider its decision.


A petition for allowance of an appeal was filed Friday with the state Supreme Court, according to court records.


Had the attorneys not filed the request for an appeal, prosecutors could have asked county Luzerne County Judge Fred Pierantoni to schedule a trial date for Selenski.


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


Selenski‚??s trial, in which he faces the death penalty, has been often delayed due to appeals and other continuances over the past 10 years.


Most recently, Selenski‚??s attorneys, Shelley Centini and Edward Rymsza, appealed a county judge‚??s decision to the state Superior Court, after Pierantoni ruled homicide charges would not be dismissed.


The attorneys 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.


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


The state Superior Court ruled it would not throw out the charges, and Selenski‚??s attorneys in September asked the court reconsider its decision.


The Superior Court ruled in October it would not reconsider, opening the door for an appeal to be made to the state Supreme Court.


The state Supreme Court could now decide whether to hear the case, which will further delay a trial date for Selenski.


Selenski had been scheduled to stand trial on Sept. 10, but the trial was put on hold after Pierantoni made rulings, including on the issue regarding homicide charges, which were then appealed.


In court papers, prosecutors called the appeal to the Superior Court ‚??frivolous‚?Ě and a tactic to delay Selenski‚??s trial.




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