Man with bodies buried in his yard gets life in prison

Published 10:19 am Thursday, February 19, 2015

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A jury on Wednesday spared the life of a man convicted of strangling a pharmacist and his girlfriend in 2002 and burying their bodies in his yard, granting a defense request to show mercy despite the brutal nature of the crimes.

Hugo Selenski, 41, was convicted last week on two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett during a robbery at the pharmacist’s home. He showed no reaction to the jury’s decision, which means he will serve life without parole. He will be formally sentenced next month.

One of Selenski’s lawyers, Bernard Brown, said he was pleased with the decision to spare him.

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“We’re happy,” he said. “We’re relieved, not only for Hugo but for the family.”

He said Selenski, who declined to comment, maintains his innocence and plans to appeal the guilty verdict.

Kerkowski’s teenage son said after the jury’s decision there is no winner.

“I will never have my father back,” Connor Kerkowski tweeted. “but maybe now there can now be closure and justice for my family. hugo can rot in jail.”