Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Email = Conviction?

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Joe Kerekes says he wasn't there when Bryan Kocis was murdered. He's said it over and over; he insists that he was at the Fox Ridge Inn sending emails when Kocis died.

His partner and boyfriend Harlow Cuadra... well, Harlow's on his own. But Joe's certain that a close look at the email evidence will demonstrate his own dove-like activities that night.

Trouble is, there's evidence that sure makes it look as if Joe's lying.

Kerekes told the Times Leader that "Cuadra left the motel room at 6:30 p.m. to meet with Kocis. Kerekes stayed at the motel using his laptop computer to access his Yahoo e-mail."

But the Affidavit of Probable Cause (and court testimony) says that the Verizon cell phone Cuadra was using allegedly used to communicate with Kocis made its final call at approx 6:35 p.m. and the call was relayed by a cellular tower few hundred yards from Kocis' house. [Page 14, Paragraph 3 of the Affidavit]

It takes a solid 20 minutes to drive from the Fox Ridge Inn to Back Mountain and Kocis' house. So when did Cuadra really leave? Not 6:30 , that's for certain.

An investigator testified that the night of the murder "Kocis and 'Danny' [that's Cuadra] made arrangements to meet...." Those communications were via emails, and "[t]he last communication occurred around 7:15 p.m." But wait, if Cuadra left Kerekes behind at the motel room with the computer, how was that final 7:15 email sent to Kocis fully 50 minutes after Cuadra supposedly left the motel?

Perhaps Cuadra was on the cellphone, telling Kerekes what to write, you say? No, the cellphone records released so far don't show any calls like that.

There's only one other alternative that fits the facts, especially given what we learned yesterday about the ubiquity of aircard access in the area: it seems clear that the computer—and most probably Joe Kerekes himself—were both in that SUV, alongside Cuadra, as it headed up Back Mountain. How else to explain what has been documented to have transpired?

There's more.

Right after the murder, "signals from two cell phones registered to Joseph Kerekes were processed through a cellular tower on Country Club Road in Dallas Township , a short distance from the Midland Drive home of Bryan Kocis, state police Cpl. Leo Hannon Jr. [testified].

"Hannon said the calls were made at 8:34 p.m. ...the exact same time firefighters were dispatched to Kocis' home for a fire."

If Joe were at the motel during the time Harlow was visiting Kocis alone, why would two of his cell phones connect to the tower in Back Mountain right after the murder? Was Harlow talking to himself?

In fact, why were those two phones anywhere near the house at 8:34, when Kerekes maintains that Cuadra had arrived at about 7:30, smelled smoke, saw a body, heard a noise and took off back to the motel? That's an hour's worth of slow-motion panic.

Had either been in the vicinity of the motel, one cell phone would have connected through this tower ... far away from Country Club Road:

It’s clear from the evidence that almost none of what Kerekes claims happened that night can possibly be true. And the lies could well spell conviction for the pair of them.

You see, all the lying-to-save-your-own-keister stuff? Oddly, jurors seem to just hate that. Go figure.

- Both PC and KM contributed to this story.