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Escaped Murder Suspect In Custody

Hugo Selenski is led out of court in Trucksville, Pa., Thursday, July, 3, 2003
AP
An escaped prison inmate charged with two murders and suspected of others surrendered to police at his home Monday night after three days on the run, a state police spokesman said.

Hugo Selenski, who escaped Friday night from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility by climbing down a 60-foot rope of knotted bedsheets, was taken into custody at 8:45 p.m. after his attorney called to arrange the surrender, said Trooper Tom Kelly, spokesman for state police in Wyoming, Pa.

Selenski, 30, was taken to the Wyoming station for processing on escape charges.

Selenski and cellmate Scott Bolton climbed down a rope assembled from 12 prison-issue sheets. Bolton fell and was captured on a rooftop, critically injured.

Selenski is charged with killing two people whose remains were exhumed from the yard of his home outside Wilkes-Barre. He also is a suspect in the deaths of three others whose bodies were also recovered from his property.

The escape occurred near the end of a two-hour period during which cells are unlocked and inmates in the maximum security unit are permitted to leave them and socialize.

Selenski and Bolton, 39, walked into another inmate's unoccupied cell and removed the same window that was taken out in a failed 1989 escape attempt, the prison warden said.

Bolton fell from about five floors up during the escape and suffered broken bones and internal injuries. He was hospitalized in critical condition.

The injured inmate told a prison guard, a police officer and a medical worker that Selenski pushed him during their escape, Fischi said. The warden said Bolton did not say whether he was pushed accidentally or deliberately.

It wasn't known whether Selenski received any help from outside the prison before or since his escape, said Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas.

It's unclear how Selenski and Bolton were able to gather the 12 sheets, Fischi said, but four came from their own beds. A few other maximum-security unit inmates were missing sheets.

Lupas criticized prison officials for allowing Selenski to wear nondescript civilian clothing and for giving the men access to a broom handle that might have been used to pry open the window.

Fischi said the white T-shirt and gray sweat pants Selenski was wearing are standard inmate exercise attire.

Selenski has been in jail since June, when police acting on a tip obtained a search warrant and began digging up bodies in his yard. Prosecutors said two victims were killed in May as part of a plot to make money by kidnapping and robbing drug dealers. No charges have been filed in the deaths of the other three victims.

The jail in downtown Wilkes-Barre, 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia, sits on the banks of the Susquehanna River.