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Man awaiting trial in Pennsylvania double homicide case can appeal home invasion conviction

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WILKES-BARRE, Pennsylvania — A man awaiting trial in a double slaying is being allowed to appeal one aspect of his conviction in a home invasion case.

Hugo Selenski is awaiting trial in Luzerne County in the May 2002 deaths of Michael Kerkowski and his girlfriend, Tammy Fassett, who were among a number of people whose bodies were found buried on Selenski's property more than a decade ago. He has been serving a sentence of 32 1/2 to 65 years on a conviction in a Monroe County home invasion and robbery.

The state Supreme Court on Friday overturned an April 2011 decision by the state Superior Court that upheld the verdict and sentence in that case. The high court told the lower court to reconsider its ruling about one aspect of eyewitness testimony.

The appeal argued that defense attorneys should have been allowed to call an expert witness casting doubt on the recollection of an eyewitness in the case. The high court directed the Superior Court to re-examine the issue in light of a recent ruling on the subject.

Defense attorney Wieslaw Niemoczynski called the decision "good news" because it keeps his client's appeal alive.

In 2006, Selenski was acquitted of murder charges in the killings of two other people found on his property.

Following his arrest in 2003, he escaped from the county jail by using a rope of bed sheets and spent several days at large before he was recaptured.

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