By Joe McDonald
EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for the 2002 strangulation deaths of a pharmacist and his girlfriend, whose bound bodies were discovered buried in a yard.
Hugo Selenski, 41, was given life imprisonment for the first-degree murders of Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett, both 37.
The year after they were slain, the couple's remains were found buried in a shallow grave behind Selenski's home, with flex ties around their necks.
A jury in the city of Wilkes-Barre deliberated for about two hours before deciding Selenski's fate. Selenski faced the death penalty despite Pennsylvania Governor Tom wolf calling a moratorium on capital punishment last week.
Prosecutors said Selenski was unemployed at the time of the crime and plotted to kill his friend Kerkowski, a pharmacist, and steal large amounts of cash he had stashed in his house from selling painkillers without prescriptions.
Kerkowski was awaiting sentencing on drug charges when he was murdered. Fassett was killed alongside him because she happened to be in the house when Selenski and an accomplice arrived, prosecutors said.
Selenski is already serving a prison sentence in the state's Pocono Mountains region for a robbery conviction.
(Editing by Laila Kearney and Andrew Hay)