Trooper testifying at murder trial says cops initially thought couple buried in yard fled town

A trooper testifying at a Pennsylvania murder trial says he initially suspected that a missing pharmacist had fled town with his girlfriend to avoid sentencing in a drug case.

Retired State Police Cpl. Thomas Appleman testified Friday in the trial of Hugo Selenski, who's charged with strangling his best friend, Michael Kerkowski, and Tammy Fassett and burying their bodies in his yard.

Kerkowski had pleaded guilty to selling hundreds of thousands of painkillers to drug addicts out of his pharmacy. He was due for sentencing when his parents reported him and Fassett missing in May 2002.

Appleman told jurors he was initially suspicious that the pharmacist's parents had helped the couple disappear.

Prosecutors say Selenski and an accomplice killed the couple in a robbery plot.

They're seeking the death penalty.