Selenski gets up to 65 years in Saylorsburg home invasion
By Andrew Scott
Pocono Record Writer
September 22, 2009 STROUDSBURG — Standing next to his attorney in court Monday, Hugo Selenski got tired of hearing the judge read off a list of offenses in his lengthy prior criminal record as she was about to sentence him in a home invasion case.
"Just get to the sentencing already," an exasperated Selenski, 36, told Monroe County Court Judge Margherita Worthington.
Worthington told Selenski to "be quiet."
Selenski ignored her, saying, "Half of what you just read off is wrong."
Worthington in a louder voice told him, "Shut your mouth," as sheriff's deputies moved closer and tapped him on the arm, motioning for him to be quiet.
In the end, Worthington sentenced Selenski to 32½ to 65 years in state prison. Awaiting trial in a Luzerne County murder case, Selenski was convicted by a jury in July in the Monroe County home invasion case.
He was found guilty on charges including kidnapping, robbery, conspiracy to commit burglary, theft, terroristic threats, simple assault and false imprisonment. Since he had been detained in Monroe County Correctional Facility since June 2007 in this case, he has been given a credit for that amount of time toward his sentence.
In January 2003, Selenski and Paul Weakley, 41, forced their way into the Saylorsburg home of Sam Goosay, co-owner of Finishing Touches Fine Jewelry in Tannersville. Goosay was home alone, eating dinner, at the time.
Goosay was bound with his hands tied in front of him and forced to hand over his car keys and give the store security code and store safe combination. The robbers took $800 from his pockets and his wife's jewelry.
Selenski, who had the gun, then stayed with him at the house while Weakley drove to the store.
Goosay gave only a partial code so that, when Weakley tried to enter the store, the alarm went off, forcing Weakley to flee.
Meanwhile, back at Goosay's house, Selenski had put down the gun to rummage through the house. Goosay, still bound, went for the gun and a brief struggle ensued. Selenski managed to take back the gun.
Goosay's alarm company then called the house to alert him to the attempted break-in at the store. Selenski hit Goosay and then fled the house.
Weakley later pleaded guilty and is now serving time.
After the home invasion, the remains of as many as 12 people were found buried on Selenski's Luzerne County property.
Selenski later was acquitted of murdering two of those people, but convicted of abuse of corpse and sentenced to four years. He has completed that sentence, but now faces murder charges in connection with two other of the bodies found buried on his property.
Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Mancuso said Luzerne County prosecutors plan to use evidence from the home invasion case in the murder case. For example, the flexible plastic wristcuffs used to bound Goosay are similar to those found on some of the murder victims.
At the July trial, Monroe County Chief Public Defender Wieslaw Niemoczynski said using evidence from the Luzerne case in the Monroe case violated Selenski's constitutional rights.
On Monday, Worthington found Selenski's prior criminal record, which stretches back to 1990, to be an aggravating factor warranting a more severe sentence. That record includes an armed bank robbery, an escape from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility and parole violations.
Worthington also found Selenski's unsteady work history, the fact that he has children by different women and his dishonorable discharge from the Marines for fraudulent enlistment to be telling of his character.
"The best thing for society is to warehouse Mr. Selenski," Worthington said. "He has shown no remorse in the home invasion, a heinous crime that involved sophistication and planning."
Goosay, who has been subpoenaed to testify in the Luzerne murder case, said Monday that he finds Selenski's sentence "more than fair" in this case. Goosay said he and his wife, Ellen, now live a different, more cautious, less trusting lifestyle because of the ordeal he went through.
"I now have a big knife by my side when I eat at home," he said. "I've bought a gun. If Selenski) escapes and decides to come after me again, he certainly knows where we live. It's not a comfortable feeling.
"I'm just glad my wife wasn't home when it happened," he said.
When asked what she would tell Selenski now that he's been sentenced, Ellen Goosay said, "I'd tell him his sentence isn't long enough."
When asked about the restitution Selenski has been ordered to pay back as part of his sentence, Sam Goosay said no amount of restitution can ever replace the sentimental value of his wife's stolen items, gifts from the family.
Mancuso said the sentence has made her "happy for the people of Pennsylvania."
"If he's let out of prison, he likely would hurt someone else," Mancuso said.
When asked what she thinks of Selenski's outburst in court at sentencing, Mancuso said, "He's frustrated and aggravated that things aren't going his way. His personality traits indicate he doesn't like hearing things from women, least of all a woman judge."
Niemoczynski took a different view, saying Selenski's outburst reflects his exasperation at having his criminal history reiterated.
Niemoczynski plans to see if the sentence imposed is a departure from state guidelines and appeal the jury verdict.
"Prior to trial, we sought to have an expert witness testify for the defense on potential mistakes that can occur in certain situations when police have a victim identify a suspect," he said, referring to the initial trouble Goosay had in picking Selenski out of a photo lineup. "The court denied our request."