Prosecutors in Luzerne County will get a second chance to put accused killer Hugo Selenski behind bars for good. Minutes after they failed to get a conviction for two murders Wednesday, Selenski was charged with two more killings. The remains of Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett were found three years ago on the property in Luzerne County’s Back Mountain where Selenski lived. Kerkowski was a Wyoming County pharmacist charged with dealing drugs. Fassett was his girlfriend. Both disappeared in May, 2002.
According to officials Kerkowski lived in Hunlock Creek but owned The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy on Route 29 near Tunkhannock. It was there where authorities arrested Kerkowski in 2001.
“In our investigation we found he had sold well over 375,000 pills illegally in this area, just in northeastern Pennsylvania,” explained Wyoming County District Attorney George Skumanick.
The street value of those pills was almost $2 million.
“I equate it to over 10 pills for every man, woman and child in this county if you were to hand them out,” Skumanick added.
Kerkowski went to trial in February, 2002, was found guilty and was scheduled for sentencing in May of that year. He paid his bail of $450,000 in cash but he never made it to his sentencing. He was missing.
“He was the largest drug dealer in the area in my 17 years of being a district attorney,” said Skumanick.
Kerkowski’s remains were found months later in Selenski’s backyard.
Tammy Fassett, according to authorities, was Kerkowski’s girlfriend. She lived in Meshoppen and worked at a bagel shop. That’s where the two met. Officials said she had nothing to do with Kerkowski’s illegal activities.
“She, unfortunately, dated the wrong person. It’s my belief that she believed Michael and cared enough for him to stay with him and that’s what cost her life,” the district attorney added.
Authorities believe she was an innocent victim in the wrong place at wrong time. “She was there at the time there was a confrontation. She saw it and obviously she saw too much,” Skumanick believes.
Fassett remains were also found in Selenski’s backyard, buried with Kerkowski’s.
“It’s unfortunate. If Tammy has chosen not to be with him she’d probably still be alive,” the district attorney concluded.
Fassett’s family has been waiting for years for Hugo Selenski to be brought to trial for her death. They said it was tough to learn he was not convicted of two murders when his first trial ended Wednesday.
“Put me in a cell with him (Selenski) and give me one of those plastic ties so I can wrap it around his neck. See how he likes it. That’s what I have to say to him,” said Fassett’s uncle, Robert Sands.
Her family said Fassett was a gentle woman who loved her children and never hurt anyone. “I really miss her, I’ll tell you that. It really hurts,” said Fassett’s father, Wayne Sands. “She was a beautiful girl. She would help anyone.”
Her family can’t understand why people would stand up and cheer for Selenski when he walked out of the courtroom at the Luzerne County courthouse during his first trial. “There’s something wrong with those people,” her uncle said.
It tears her brother apart because he was close to Fassett. “She had a full life ahead of her. It’s sad because she was only a year old than me,” said Brian Sands.