Warden of Pa. Prison Says Windows Vulnerable

A warden says he wants an inspection of prison windows after an inmate charged with two murders and suspected of three others removed a seventh-floor window and escaped.

The 12-inch-by-18-inch window was found, intact, on the lower bunk of the cell from which Hugo Selenski (searchand another inmate escaped on Friday, Luzerne County Correctional Facility (searchWarden Gene Fischi said. Selenski turning himself in Monday.

Similar windows at the jail are also vulnerable to being opened, Fischi said.

The inmates climbed down a rope assembled from 12 prison-issue bedsheets. Selenski's cellmate, Scott Bolton, fell during the escape attempt and was captured on a rooftop, critically injured. Bolton told officials that Selenski pushed him during their escape, but did not say whether it was an accident or not, Fischi said.

Selenski is charged with the murder of two people whose remains were exhumed from the yard of his home outside Wilkes-Barre (search). 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 overcrowded maximum security unit are permitted to leave them to socialize.

Selenski, 30, 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, Fischi said. The earlier attempt prompted the jail to weld windows to their frames, install bolts and add a layer of wire mesh to the interior.

Officials were examining the improvements to see why they failed to stop Selenski and if further modifications are needed, he said.

"I welcome an investigation. I want them to test those windows," Fischi said.

Stephen Urban, a prison board member and county commissioner, toured the prison Monday and said checks were not being done properly. Selenski had an extra mattress in his cell and it was sliced open, meaning it could have been used to hide sheets used in the escape, he said.

Fischi said security checks have been stepped up at the prison and officials are mulling additional measures, including whether to install a perimeter fence or require inmates to exercise in prison garb instead of sweat pants and T-shirts. Officials fear nondescript clothing might help escaped convicts blend into the general populace.

Selenski's attorney, Demetrius Fannick, said neither he nor any of Selenski's family members have had any contact from him. A phone call Selenski made from prison less than two hours before the escape was to his girlfriend, but he did not mention his plans and she was unaware of them, Fannick said.

"She was completely shocked when the police showed up at her door," Fannick said.

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, Frank James, 29, and Adeiye Keiler, 22, 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: a pharmacist who had been linked to illegal drug sales, his girlfriend and a third person whose identity has not been released.