Monday, August 20, 2007

In Court: Prelim Hearing

Note: The following entries were blogged live and in real time. Therefore, some links still work, and some now redirect to later updates (at the behest of the media source). We strove to quote the relevant bits in each live entry, as it was presented.

UPDATE: The Times Leader ( 5:33 pm) -- is reporting Luzerne County Coroner Dr. Jack Consalvo, chief deputy coroner Bill Lisman, state police fire marshal Ron Jarocha, and a former employee of the two men, Justin Hensley, were among those who testified today.

UPDATE: WNEP TV-16 Live Broadcast (5:01 pm) -- reports that Kocis' family sobbed during some of the testimony. The Fire Chief testified that they saw flames shooting from the front porch when they arrived. The hearing is continued to Thursday afternoon.

UPDATE: Citizen's Voice ( 4:40 pm) -- Prelim to continue Thursday for Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes.

UPDATE: Citizen's Voice ( 2:00 pm) -- Reports that more than 80 percent of Kocis' body was covered by third-degree burns.

A resident of Midland Drive, where Kocis lived, testified he noticed an SUV in Kocis' driveway shortly before the murder. James Gilbert said he saw the silver SUV parked outside Kocis' garage less than an hour before firefighters responded to the burning home.

Another witness testified she was visiting Kocis' next-door neighbor on the night of the murder. Amy Zamerowski said she saw a light-colored SUV backing out of Kocis' driveway around 8:30 p.m. Firefighters arrived less than 10 minutes later, she said.
A hotel manager at Fox Ridge Inn in Plains Township took the stand and produced a registration slip showing a Joe Kerekes stayed at the hotel around the time of the murder.

UPDATE: WNEP TV-16 Live Broadcast (12:02 pm) Reports that an as yet unidentified ‘associate’ of Harlow and Joe [said by the CV to be former roomate Justin Hainsley] testified that the pair told him before the killing that they wanted to hire a big name porn-star away from Kocis. The witness further testified that after the murder, Harlow and Joe denied killing Kocis, but didn't want to discuss the topic in any detail.

It's expected to be a very long preliminary hearing due to a lot of evidence. The large number of scheduled witnesses is expected to push the hearing at least into a second day.

Citizens' Voice (11:42 am) -- Medical Examiners testify to "Near Decapitation":

"More than a dozen graphic pictures of Kocis' badly burned body were presented at today's hearing, which is expected to last several days before Magisterial District Judge James Tupper. Two medical examiners testified the cause of death was a near decapitation.

"'We were able to ascertain it was a smooth cutting, probably one swipe," Luzerne County Coroner Dr. John Consalvo testified. "It was a very sharp object.'"

Also new info: Some of Kocis' post-mortem wounds were said to be to the "groin area."

-Both PC and KM contributed to this report.