Man Convicted for Strangling Pharmacist in Drug Ring

February 13, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

A man was convicted on February 11, 2015, of strangling and killing a pharmacist and the pharmacist's girlfriend and then burying the bodies in his Pennsylvanian yard back in 2002.

A man was convicted on February 11, 2015, of strangling and killing a pharmacist and the pharmacist’s girlfriend and then burying the bodies in his Pennsylvanian yard back in 2002, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The AP reported that Hugo Selenski could face a death sentence after a jury found him guilty of killing pharmacist Michael Kerkowski of Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania, and Tammy Fassett. Selenski allegedly killed Kerkowski and Fassett after stealing money that Kerkowski had reaped from an illegal drug ring.

Before Kerkowski went missing in May 2002, the pharmacist had pleaded guilty to charges of running a prescription drug ring, from which he profited $800,000.

Selenski got involved when he decided to scam Kerkowski into giving him money for legal work, which he never provided, according to the AP’s report. Selenski received some funds from Kerkowski, but went back for more when Selenski’s girlfriend needed more money to buy a house. This led to Selenski murdering Kerkowski before the pharmacist headed to prison.

A coconspirator named Paul Weakley, who met Selenski in prison decades ago, plotted with Selenski to kill the pharmacist, the AP reported.

Weakley testified that he and Selenski had beaten the pharmacist with a rolling pin until he told them where his money was stored. Then, they tied up Kerkowski and his girlfriend and covered their eyes with duct tape. They then used flex ties to strangle Kerkowski and his girlfriend, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

According to the AP report, Fassett was killed only because she was with Kerkowski when they showed up at the house.

After the murders, Selenski went after the pharmacist’s father, who had been holding some money for Kerkowski. Selenski allegedly threatened Kerkowski’s father with a gun until the man relinquished tens of thousands of dollars, according to the AP report.

The bodies of Kerkowski and Fassett bodies were discovered 1 year after they were killed, alongside 3 other sets of human remains.

A jury will decide if Selenski will be sent to death row or see life in prison without parole for his convictions of first-degree murder, robbery, and other offenses, the AP reported.

Selenski is currently in prison on robbery charges. He escaped in 2003 using a rope made out of bed sheets and spent 3 days free before he turned himself in, the AP reported.