The wait for a verdict continued Tuesday at the Luzerne County courthouse as a jury considered the fate of accused double murderer Hugo Selenski. Jurors deliberated for 10 hours on Tuesday without reaching a verdict. Around 7 p.m., the judge sent them back to their hotel for the night. Deliberations will resume Wednesday morning at the courthouse in Wilkes-Barre. The jury had several questions for the judge and, late Tuesday afternoon, returned to the courtroom to tell the judge they are deadlocked. They added they are not giving up on the case. They asked for guidance from the judge. They wanted him to explain the charges against Hugo Selenski.
Selenski is accused of killing Frank James and Adeiye Keiler, robbing them of drugs and money and abuse of corpse. Their bodies were found burned and buried in the backyard of Selenski’s home in the Back Mountain in June, 2003.
The jury said it is deadlocked on the murder charges. The judge detailed for the panel what first, second and third degree murder verdicts would mean in the case. He also explained reasonable doubt. Prosecutors are seeking a first degree murder conviction and the death penalty.
Reasonable doubt was the theme of defense attorney Demetrius Fannick’s closing argument. He made the case that prosecutors didn’t prove their case. Monday he called the prosecution’s case a joke, especially the testimony of Patrick Russin. He told the court he saw Selenski kill James and Keiler. Jurors also asked about Russin’s testimony about what happened at the time of the murders. He’s considered an accomplice. The judge told the jurors to consider his testimony as polluted and to consider his motivation but that doesn’t mean they can rule out his testimony.
Other questions from the jurors dealt with the meaning of third degree murder and about Russin’s guilty plea to third degree murder in the case.