Hugo Selenski, his court-appointed attorney, Shelley Centini, and private investigator and former Pittston police officer, James Sulima, all face charges ranging from witness intimidation to solicitation of perjury.
According to the state attorney general’s office, Selenski wrote letters threatening witnesses, in some cases telling them to lie, in his upcoming double murder trial in Luzerne County, which were shown to those witnesses by both Centini and Sulima.
Centini is a partner at the Dyller law firm in Wilkes-Barre.
Attorney Barry Dyller released this statement about the charges:
“I have complete confidence Shelley is innocent of all charges. I’m sad for Shelley, I’m sad for the Commonwealth itself, that it chose to charge an innocent person.”
“I know Shelley Centini for quite a number of years, I know and I have employed Jim Sulima as an investigator. I have always found them to be very ethical, very aggressive, a very good lawyer and a very good investigator,” said Demetrius Fannick.
Fannick was Hugo Selenski’s attorney during his 2006 trial when Selenski was found not guilty of killing two people.
Selenski is still awaiting trial on charges he killed two other people.
Fannick said he and Selenski got along well.
Fannick keeps a picture in his Kingston office that Selenski drew in prison showing himself breaking out.
Hugo Selenski used bedsheets knotted together to escape the Luzerne County correctional facility in 2003. He turned himself in three days later.
“Nothing that Hugo did or allegedly did or is accused of would ever surprise me. He’s almost a legend, a cult-hero. ”
According to state investigators, Centini and Sulima met with at least five witnesses and on at least one occasion provided a witness with money.
Those investigators said Centini and Sulima met at least four of those witnesses at an eatery in Larksville and later the threatening letters were hidden or destroyed.
“Shelley and I tried a case together a few years ago. She was my co-counsel. There’s no question, she’s very smart. She’s academically inclined. She knows the law and she works hard at what she does,” said attorney John Pike.
John Pike was co-counsel for Hugo Selenski during his 2006 trial and remained his attorney until 2011.
In paperwork, an investigator for the state attorney general wrote, “The grand jury notes that Selenski’s legacy of violence is not his burden but rather his weapon, which he effectively uses to bludgeon anyone who would speak out against him. ”
“He never asked me to do anything that I thought was inappropriate,” said Pike.