UPDATE: Selenski’s Lawyers Want Death Penalty Off The Table, Prosecution Rests

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WILKES-BARRE -- Lawyers for Hugo Selenski tried to stop the punishment phase of his murder trial because of Governor Tom Wolf's moratorium on the death penalty in Pennsylvania.

Lawyers for Selenski filed a petition Tuesday morning as the death penalty phase of the trial was about to begin.

What Governor Wolf did in Harrisburg last week is now being felt in Wilkes-Barre. The governor issued a moratorium on executions until the state's death penalty law can be studied.

Selenski's lawyers filed a motion to take the death penalty off the table, or to delay the sentencing hearing until the state acts.

Court started almost three hours past its scheduled time. The judge decided not to delay Hugo Selenski's sentencing any further regardless of the governor's recent moratorium.

He will leave it in the jury's hands to decide if Selenski will get life in prison or the death penalty.

A jury has decided that Selenski did, in fact, rob and kill Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett in 2002.

Now Selenski's life hangs in the balance of their hands as they decide his ultimate fate.

In his opening statement for the penalty portion of this trial, prosecutor Jarrett Ferentino told the jury, "If you think it is easy for me to stand here and ask you … to consider death for Mr. Selenski, let me assure you, it is not easy."

But Ferentino says that Selenski's history of convictions for violent crimes and the way he committed these murders that death is the only punishment he deserves.

He reminded jurors of the torture the victims endured, asking them to imagine, "being bound with your hands behind your back, your feet being bound, duct tape around your eyes, taken to a basement, all the while your girlfriend is bound upstairs."

But Selesnki's defense says this monster the prosecution has painted for them is not who Selenski is, asking the jury, "who amongst us would want to be judged by the worst thing we have been accused of? There is much, much more to Mr. Selenski."

In defense attorney Edward Rymsza's opening statement, he admitted to the jury, "it's very difficult and very hard to stand in front of each of you in light of your verdict. I will be lying to you if I said we weren't disappointed with your verdict."

He reminded the jury that the guilty verdict of first-degree murder came with a minimum life sentence and that's harsh enough, saying, "there is nothing to gain from removing him from the human community."

After opening statements the prosecution called up three witnesses to the stand to testify about Hugo Selenski's violent felony past, particularly a robbery he committed in 1994 in Plains Township.

Then they quickly rested.

Court will resume Wednesday when the defense is expected to start calling character witnesses for Selenski.


  • Solomon Grundy

    Lloyd where have you been…I haven’t heard from you in a while…I figured a simple fool such as yourself would have something stupid to say….but then again maybe you took the hint and went away…i guess better late then never!!!

  • bb

    I don’t know what is the right or wrong thing to do on this matter but in my heart as a christian I have to believe that God has the final say I hope and pray whatever it is that it is the right thing for the victims and their familes as well for hugo and his family I feel terrible for everyone involved in this and I thank God that I am not related to either the victim or the accused for both are in place that none us would want to be and I pray for both sides

      • tiredoftheBS

        BB is clearly as psycho as selenski is and their ilk. What they have the right to is as anyone in their position on the cross to the left and right of Jesus; repentance then absolution in the hereafter and since selenski is confessing nothing but innocence…well..it is what it is. This don’t judge crap has nothing to do with conviction for crimes committed. Get over yourself BB and stop thinking that no one has a mind of THEIR own to think with. Even the bible you thump is clear what happens to the wicked!

      • EPPP

        tireofthebs you sound like you weren’t loved as a child you call call bb pyscho listen to your own ilk you sound like you need a shrink who enjoys a challenge !

      • TARA


      • theresa

        Not sure where TiredofBS was going on this the response they gave was all over the place please proof read before you print people

      • toomuch

        Whoa hey tired of bs did your mommy not put you down for a nap or what what a tangent all because a person has a little empathy they have medicine now that controls outbursts like this dude think you need some help!

    • mark

      bb i admire your empathy for all involved i don’t personally have it but as far as the people like troll hunter and tiredofbs my guess is that they were bullied on the playground and have not grown up perhaps its why they resort to name calling when a person has a difference of opinion you can agree to disagree Name calling I thought children only did that hmmm

  • Swampdonkey

    Killers in prison should not be kept warm, they are cold blooded in the first place.
    Secondly they should spin the wheel monthly to see if they live or die.

  • very nice

    well if the death penalty does what it’s suppose to do it would be cheaper for the taxpayers and one less scumbag on the planet we have to worry about ESCAPING prison and committing more crimes. What’s so hard about an eye for an eye? Don’t see the problem that people have with killing cold hearted murderers–I really don’t.

  • BZ22

    The lawyers Selenski hires try every stall tactic and trick in the book. When they’ve exhausted their supply, he fires them, gets a new one and starts all over again. He could be sentenced to death and would die of natural causes because of the games he plays! Sick of the shenanigans he’s been allowed in jail, especially in light of the ones he’s guilty of outside!


      Honestly, the system the way it is now, it is cheaper….

      I think it is a far harsher punishment to keep him in solitary confinement for the rest of his life.

    • ep

      Jim I understand but if it were your kid and he was convicted of this would you want someone to say and feel “why keep this guy alive?”

      • tiredoftheBS

        Number one? That “person” is over 18, legally, and no longer anyone’s “child.” Biblically speaking that “person” hasn’t been a “child” since he turned 13. And anybody who would conduct themselves in the manner of this monster would be no child of mine whether biological or otherwise.

      • mark

        troll hunter you can a difference of opinion without belittling people are you a grown up? didn’t name calling stop when we were kids? perhaps not some of never grow up I geuss

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