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Teen says man of her dreams made her a killer

By Emanuella Grinberg
Court TV
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(Court TV) -- Two days after her arrest for allegedly helping her ex-con boyfriend torture and kill a Michigan couple, Samantha Bachynski told police there was a time when she would have done anything for him.

Bachynsk, 19, admitted waiting 64 days for Patrick Selepak to get out of jail for assaulting a former girlfriend. She invited him to live in the home she shared with her mother and younger brother.

"He made me feel like a terrific person, and that is what any 19-year-old girl wants," she told a detective. "They want the six-foot-tall beautiful guy to make them feel like they are wanted, and that's what I got at first."

Little more than a month later, she and Selepak strangled Scott and Melissa Berels to death, police say. On that night, Bachynski later insisted to investigators that she participated because she feared Selepak, whom she called her first real love, would kill her too.

Prosecutors in Michigan believe that the high school honors student acted of her own volition when she assisted Selepak in the deaths of Scott and Melissa Berels, who was pregnant when she was killed on February 15.

Teen's trial begins

Her admissions of guilt and claims of victimization will be a key consideration for jurors in her felony murder trial, which began Tuesday with jury selection in Michigan's Macomb County Circuit Court after a delay last week.

Bachynski faces life in prison if convicted of 10 counts, including murder, kidnapping and home invasion.

Selepak, 27, has already pleaded guilty for his role in the murders. When her relationship with Selepak was going well, Bachynski told police, she had never been happier.

"I had the kind of guy that everybody likes to be around. I had somebody that my mom could talk to, someone that my brother could look up to," Bachynski said in a February 23 police interview.

It only took one night, according to Bachynski, for the fairy-tale relationship to unravel into a gruesome crime spree that left three people dead and made the couple the target of a statewide manhunt.

Selepak is already serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to several charges stemming from the deaths of the Berels and Fred Johnson of Genesee County. Bachynski is expected to stand trial for Johnson's death later this year.

In several lengthy interviews with police after the couple's capture, Bachynski described in chilling detail her role in the couple's deaths in their home in New Baltimore.

Ordered to 'finish the job'

With Scott Berels bound and gagged in another room, Bachynski said, Selepak strangled Melissa Berels until she turned blue and then ordered Bachynski to "finish the job."

"He told me that I am to put my hands on her. That way I can start choking her," Bachynski told police. "I had to. I had a gun pointed at me."

"Did he ever tell you what would happen if you didn't?" Det. Ken Stevens asked.

"No, he didn't, but if you had a gun pointed at your face, what are you going to assume?" Bachynski said.

Bachynski said Selepak then wrapped a plastic bag around Berels' head and a belt around her neck and ordered Bachynski to pull the belt. She complied, but insisted that she did so with minimal force because she did not really want to kill the woman.

When she finished, she said Selepak kicked the body to make sure she was dead and told Bachynski to smoke a cigarette to calm her nerves. Meanwhile, he went to work on Scott Berels, who was supposedly unaware that his wife was dead.

Bachynski said she watched Selepak beat Scott Berels with the butt of a gun before he told her to slit the man's throat.

Again, Bachynski told police, she did so with minimal force because she didn't want to kill him and didn't want to cross Selepak.

"At this point, I'm not going to argue with him because that gun is always within an arm's reach of him. I don't know if he's going to get mad to the point where he's going to try and shoot me," she said.

But prosecutor William Cataldo said Bachynski had numerous opportunities to run from Selepak during the crime.

Cataldo said Bachynski could have fled when Selepak left the house to purchase syringes and a pack of Bud Ice beer before Scott Berels' death.

Victim injected with bleach

Bachynski admitted to filling the syringes with a mixture of bleach and water and injecting it into Scott Berels' foot, neck and arm. When that failed to kill him, she said Selepak retrieved the plastic bag and belt from Melissa Berels' body and put them on her husband.

Again, she said Selepak ordered her to pull the belt while he choked him manually.

With the couple dead, Bachynski said Selepak sent her to CVS to buy duct tape to use to wrap the bodies in plastic and dispose of them ? another opportunity for her to flee, according to Cataldo.

"She had to drive past the police station each way to and from CVS," Cataldo said.

By Bachynski's account, the pair fled to Flint, Michigan, where they befriended Fred Johnson at a gay bar.

Bachynski said she and Selepak were staying in Johnson's home when she awoke one night to find Selepak pointing a gun at Johnson. The pair ran after Selepak killed him too, she said.

In his own statements to police, Selepak told a slightly different story minimizing Bachynski's participation. At his own sentencing hearing, he also refused to implicate his former girlfriend.

For his statements to enter the trial, the defense would have to call him as a witness.

"I am always going to care about him, just because he is he first guy that I actually fell in love with," Bachynski told police in her final interview.

"But I guarantee you, though, if I wasn't with him, I would have never done anything like that, never in my entire life ... that's not me. I am not a violent person."

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Samantha Bachynski says she participated in her boyfriend's killing spree because she feared him.



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