Friday, August 24, 2007

Prelim, Day Two: Late Updates

Harlow Cuadra

Update: Court TV (8:13 pm) - reports an interesting exchange in court yesterday. "An e-mail account registered to Kerekes was accessed shortly before the murder, but [State Trooper] Murphy said he didn't currently have records to show whether the account just remained open or if e-mails were sent.

"'So he could have logged in and walked away to do something else, like walk in a house or commit murder?" Melnick asked.

"'Or he could have been sitting there the whole time?" Kerekes' lawyer, Joe Necito, asked during cross-examination."


There was precious little good news for Harlow Cuadra and Joe Kerekes following a day of testimony in a Pennsylvania courtroom—a day that saw a flood of evidence wash over the pair accused of Bryan Kocis’ murder.

“It sucks. I did not kill that man,” Cuadra said, as he headed back to his cell in the Lackawanna county jail.

Kerekes, who had told reporters he’d have a statement after the hearing, could only mutter, “I was never in that house and we will hire an expert to prove that I was nowhere near that house."

Joe Kerekes

Kerekes has maintained that he was back at the Fox Ridge Inn when the murder was committed, working online. Testimony from a State Police investigator indicates that someone was online using Kerekes’ email account immediately after the murder, but that cellular-tower logs show the web was accessed wirelessly just after the killing... and from very near the victim’s home.

That would place whoever accessed Kerekes' email several miles from the Fox Ridge Inn, and quite some distance from a workable alibi.

Magistrate Tupper did dismiss some charges in the case: charges of burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary will not be pursued because Tupper found that the prosecution did not meet its legal burden on those crimes.

Speaking after the hearing, Cuadra’s attorney tried to put a good face on what was a long day that turned out badly, “I am glad any charge is dismissed,” he said.

Prosecutors say they still have not decided whether to seek the death penalty in the case.

According to authorities, the accused Virginia Beach couple counted on a lot of things to help them get away with their crimes. Grant Roy testified that the suspects told him that the police wouldn’t be interested in the murder of a gay man.

Apparently, they were wrong.

Likewise, they’d counted on the fire to destroy all evidence of the crime, but, as Assistant District Attorney Michael Melnick put it, “the one thing they didn’t have a plan for was the volunteer firefighters. In two minutes, firefighters were on the scene. That’s one thing they didn’t have a plan for.”

Sources: Times Leader, Citizens' Voice, WNEP TV-16