Criminal Justice

Defense lawyer charged with perjury, along with client in homicide case and private investigator

A Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney has been charged with perjury, obstruction and witness intimidation, along with her client in a double-murder case and a former police detective now working as a private investigator.

Attorney Shelley Centini and the PI are accused of showing handwritten letters from their client, Hugo Selenski, to five witnesses in the homicide case in an attempt to influence their testimony, according to the Associated Press, the Citizen’s Voice and Fox 43.

The three are also accused of conspiring to undermine Selenski’s prosecution and lying to the grand jury investigating how the defense handled the murder case. The Citizen’s Voice provides a copy of the indictment (PDF).

“Centini’s claim that these letters were harmless greetings from an incarcerated serial killer is preposterous and materially false,” the grand jury wrote in the indictment. “The idea that Selenski simply wished to make ‘introductions’ after almost a decade of incarceration on murder charges is absurd.”

Selenski, who has not been convicted of murder, is charged in the underlying case with strangling to death two people whose remains were found on his property in 2003 on the outskirts of Wilkes-Barre. He is already serving a hefty sentence in a home invasion and robbery case and had been scheduled to go to trial in early March in the murder case.

Bail was set at $1.5 million for Selenski on Monday. At last report, Centini and former Pittston detective James Sulima were awaiting arraignment Monday afternoon. Sulima declined comment when contacted by the AP and Centini did not respond to a request for comment.

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