By Joe MacDonald
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (Reuters) - A jury on Wednesday convicted a Pennsylvania man of first-degree murder in the strangulation deaths of a pharmacist and his girlfriend.
The jury deliberated more than 15 hours over two days before convicting Hugo Selenski, 41, of murder, robbery, criminal conspiracy and related offenses in the deaths of pharmacist Michael Kerkowski and his girlfriend Tammy Fassett, both 37.
Their remains were found buried in a shallow grave in Selenski's backyard, with flex ties around their necks.
Selenski was acquitted of conspiracy to commit robbery and solicitation to commit murder.
Prosecutors said Selenski plotted to kill the pharmacist and steal large amounts of cash the pharmacist had stashed in his house from selling painkillers without prescriptions.
The pharmacist was awaiting sentencing on drug charges when he was murdered, and his girlfriend was killed alongside him because she happened to be in the house when Selenski and an accomplice arrived, prosecutors said.
In the next phase of the trial, jurors will be asked to decide whether Selenski should be sentenced to death or spend the rest of his life in prison.
He is already serving 32.5 to 65 years in state prison for robbing a man in the Pocono Mountains at gunpoint.
(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Ken Wills)