Friday, November 30, 2007

Does The Camera Lie?

Sony DCR-VX2000

Two video cameras were found missing from Bryan Kocis' house after his murder, meanwhile the same two brands and models of cameras were also found in Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes' house. Here's a copy of the affidavit regarding the matter, with my personal observations and thoughts following.

Since the camera topic seems to surface from time to time, I thought it would only be fitting to discuss it:

"On 02/10/07, the Virginia Beach Police Department, in conjunction with investigators from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, executed a search warrant at the residence of Cuadra and Kerekes, that being 1028 Stratem Court, Virginia Beach, Virginia, in pursuit of the furtherance of this investigation. As a result of said search, numerous items of evidence were seized, inclusive of items previously illustrated herein. Additionally, two Sony digital video cameras, model numbers DCR-VX2000 and HDR-FX1, respectfully, were seized it was observed that both cameras had serial numbers forcibly removed and obliterated. Based upon the observance of said items, investigators with the Pennsylvania State Police contacted the victim's associate Robert Wagner, who had in the past assisted the victim with video production. Wagner stated that he had, within the six months prior to the victim's death, observed said cameras within the victim's residence. It should be noted that both cameras were conspicuously absent during the intensive search of the victim's residence. Additionally, investigators contacted J&R electronics store, located in New York, NY., which is a location the victim regularly purchased electronic items. According to a sales manager at that location, the victim did purchase a Sony HDR-FX1 camera on 12/23/05.

Investigators conducting intelligence research relative to this investigation located a message board area titled; "The Digital Video Information Network", with an associated web address of; www.dvinfo.net. Said website is designed for individuals to read and post questions/solutions to various types of digital video inquiries. Anyone may read posts at said site however in order to post a message a user must have an account already created.

On 01/29/07, user Harlow Cuadra posted an inquiry related to the use of video camera HVR-ZI/HDR-FX1. Said camera is the same model which was found to be removed from the victim's residence at or around the time of his death. It is also the same model camera which was seized from the accused's' residence pursuant to a search warrant on 02/10/07. Said camera had all serial numbers forcibly obliterated from same.

Investigators contacted the Administrative contact for DV Info Net and requested subscriber information related to those postings. The subscriber DV Info has registered is Harlow Cuadra of Norfolk, Va., with an email account of harlowcuadra@excite.com with the signature of "boys do what they can...men do what they want". Eleven posting IP addresses were also provided, one being 70.174.54.38 which is the static IP address assigned by Cox Communications Inc., to Cuadra of 1028 Stratem Ct., Virginia Beach, Va."

My own thoughts:

Harlow states in his DVI message: "i just got it but do not understand the manual to well :(" ... this would sound like Cuadra just got the camera. Bryan was murdered 5 days earlier... bad timing to make a purchase?

Harlow also stated that he had the manual, so they must have bought it right? Not necessarily... the manuals for both cameras can easily be downloaded in .pdf format online here and here.

"it was observed that both cameras had serial numbers forcibly removed and obliterated" ... assuming Harlow and Joe did in fact purchase theses cameras, where would one buy cameras that have had their serial number removed? Even a pawn shop won't sell items like that. Ebay perhaps? Or maybe they removed them after they bought them... but why?

During the search warrant, receipts were also seized - assuming Harlow and Joe had receipts for the purchase of these two cameras, then there's certainly a reasonable doubt to these being Bryan's. If Harlow and Joe didn't have receipts of purchase (which would be very odd since both cameras would be considered a tax deduction as business equipment), then I guess it'll be up to a jury to decide.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Docket Updates for Joseph Kerekes

There are several updates to Joseph Kerekes' docket today... and they're listed as follows:

  1. 11/29/2007 Motion for Enlargement of Time & order filed.Hearing on 12-21-07 Olszewski, Peter Paul Jr.

  2. 11/29/2007 Motion to Compel Comm's response to Def's Request/Bill of Particulars & Rule filed. Hearing 12-21-07 Olszewski, Peter Paul Jr.

  3. 11/29/2007 Brief In Support of Def's Motion to Compel Comm's Response to Bill of Particulars filed. Nocito, Frank William
So far... nothing new for Harlow Cuadra.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Did Joe Know What He Was Doing?

With most of the currently known evidence pointing more towards Harlow Cuadra:

  • An IP address associated with the dmbottompa@yahoo.com email address is 70.174.54.38, the results of a supoena indicate the account and subscriber information as Harlow R. Cuadra of 1028 Stratem Ct, Virginia Beach, VA and matching the IP logs for the account.

  • The myspace activity for these IP addresses are associated with Cuadra's Sprint PCS mobile air card and match the IP logs associated with the dmbottompa yahoo email account. The next logon for Cuadra's myspace account occured on January 25, 2007 7:50:32 AM PST with associated IP address 70.174.54.38 which is associated with Caudra's residence at 1028 Stratem Ct, Virginia Beach Va.

  • An investigator with the Pennsylvania State Police reviewed financial and credit card activity related to Caudra pursuant to this investigation. A check of Cuadra's Discover credit card acitivity showed a charge of $39.95 from the company USA People Search. The company indicated that on January 20th, 2007 a background check report was purchased for information related to the victim, Bryan C. Kocis.

  • On 01/29/07, user Harlow Cuadra posted an inquiry related to the use of video camera HVR-ZI/HDR-FXI. Said camera is the same model which was found to be removed from the victim's residence at or around the time of his death. It is also the same model camera which was seized from the accuseds' residence pursuant to search warrant on 02/10/07. Said camera had all serial numbers forcibly obliterated from same.

  • While working with the Virginia Beach Police Department, investigators with the Pennsylvania State Police learned that on the morning of 01/25/07, Officer Brent Riddick, Virginia Beach Police, obtained the registration number for a silver/grey Nissan Xterra sport utility vehicle with dark trim and three brake lights. Said registration came back to "Enterprise Leasing Company", Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, Va.. Further investigation revealed that said vehicle was rented by accused Cuadra on 01/23/07 at approx 0940hrs. The vehicle was rented in the name of Harlow R. Cuadra, to which Cuadra's driver's license was afforded subsequent to the rental agreement. Cuadra's Virginia driver number was also recorded upon the rental agreement, as was Cuadra's signature. Rental vehicle was paid for by Discover Card issued to Harlow R. Cuadra, Norfolk Male Escorts, Inc.

  • Further investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police in conjunction with the Virginia Beach Police Department revealed that on 01/23/07 at approx 0944 hrs., accused Cuadra along with accused Kerekes entered the "Superior Pawn and Gun Shop", Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach, Va, and purchased a "Sigarms" model #FX1SG, lock blade folding knife with 30% serrated edge. Cuadra additionally purchased a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver and ammunition, utilizing a Visa credit card issued to Harlow Cuadra. Cuadra was observed exiting said location carrying a bag containing the knife as well as ammunition for the firearm.

  • Then we have the 4 emails sent to Grant Roy, several signed by Joe, but all forwarded via "myspace.com/harlowcuadra"

  • Harlow Cuadra seems to do most of the talking during the Black's Beach tapes, while Kerekes appears to be more in 'third person'.

  • Joe states in his infamous jailhouse interview with the Times Leader that Harlow Cuadra had in fact gone to Bryan Kocis' house and saw a dead body, but that he (Joe) stayed back at the motel doing emails.

... and with the exception of Joe using his I.D. to check-in at the Fox Ridge Inn, and being present at the gun shop... you'd almost have to wonder if Joe had any involvement at all. Now I'm certainly not saying that's the case, but it sure is interesting to see how much Harlow is mentioned in the affidavit and evidence, yet how little there is in regards to Joe.

Makes you wonder if Joe knew what he was doing to ensure that if they got caught... it would be Harlow that took the fall.

Kerekes May Hire Fannick as Legal Counsel

Joseph Kerekes

The Citizens Voice is reporting that Attorney Demetrius Fannick has been contacted by accused killer Joseph Kerekes about representing him during his upcoming trial.

Fannick is the last attorney in Luzerne County whose client beat a criminal homicide charge and the possibility of lethal injection. Fannick convinced a Luzerne County jury in March 2006 there was enough reasonable doubt to clear Hugo Selenski of the murders of two men.

The Kerekes case reminds him of the Selenski case, Fannick said Tuesday. There is one major difference — Fannick will not represent Kerekes for free as he did with Selenski. Fannick would not say how much money Kerekes would need to retain his services.

“I certainly would like to get involved in Mr. Kerekes’ case,” Fannick said. “I believe it’s very defendable. But I can’t do anything until I’m retained.”

Demetrius Fannick

Fannick briefly discussed the case with Kerekes during a recent visit at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, but did not delve into details of the case because Kerekes is represented by county court-appointed conflict counsel Mark Bufalino, Shelley Centini and John Pike. Should Kerekes raise enough money to hire private counsel, Fannick could get the job.

“There are certainly limitations on my conversation with him,” Fannick said. “I don’t want to overstep my bounds. I don’t want to in any way interfere with Mr. Kerekes’ representation unless I am retained.”

Fannick believes Kerekes’ family is attempting to raise money for his defense, but is unsure where their effort stands. Kerekes’ parents, Fred and Rosalie, sold a property in the Virginia Beach area for $229,000 in July. A phone number for Fred and Rosalie Kerekes has been disconnected and they could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

There also are active Web sites soliciting funds for Kerekes and Cuadra. Cuadra is currently represented by the Luzerne County public defenders’ office, but District Attorney David Lupas’ office is asking a judge to remove the public defender’s office as Cuadra’s attorneys because of a conflict of interest.

Fannick said representatives of Lupas’ office contacted him to inquire about whether he would be representing Kerekes. No one from Lupas’ office could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Huge Development for Joseph Kerekes?

Joseph Kerekes

Accused murder suspect Joseph Kerekes has apparently been in talks with probably one of the best criminal defense lawyers available in Luzerne County about taking his case... and someone on Joe's side is actually willing to pay for it.

Please Note: This is still a developing story... additional updates will be posted tomorrow.

...meanwhile... where does this leave co-defendent Harlow Cuadra in his apparent legal time of limbo?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Recordings Don't Lie... But Sometimes People Do

Harlow Cuadra and Sean Lockhart

Since the taped beach recordings of a 2 day conversation involving Harlow Cuadra, Joseph Kerekes, Grant Roy, and Sean Lockhart will be used as evidence in trial, I decided to review once again what was mentioned in the affidavit. It's pretty damning to say the least, and I'm including the entire text for those that haven't had access to the criminal affidavit:

On 04/27/07, an electronic intercept and surveillance was conducted by a task force consisting of members of the San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Naval Criminal Investigation Service, San Diego County District Attorney's Office, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office. The location of said intercept was within the area of La Jolla, San Diego, California. The subject of said intercept was conversations between Grant Roy, Sean Lockhart, Harlow Cuadra, and Joseph Kerekes concerning the homicide of victim Kocis. During said conversations, it was observed that Roy and Lockhart made statements regarding how their lives have been damaged by the murder of the victim, specifically regarding the business setbacks they have suffered. As a response, both Cuadra and Kerekes made apologetic statements for their hardship. The foursome additionally spoke of doing business, specifically the creation of pornographic film showing Cuadra and Lockhart. At one point in the conversation, Roy asked Cuadra/Kerekes if the victim "felt any pain". Both Cuadra and Kerekes became silent, at which time Cuadra leaned towards Lockhart, who was walking next to him and stated silently; "don't worry, he went quick". Cuadra and Kerekes then addressed Roy and Lockhart stating that if the foursome went to the nude beach the next day, Cuadra and Kerekes would answer any questions asked of them.

Harlow and Sean

On 04/28/07, another electronic intercept and surveillance was conducted by task force members from aforementioned agencies with the exception of the San Diego County District Attorney's Office. The location of said intercept was within the area of Torry Pines Gliderport and beach area, aka Black's Beach, San Diego, Ca. The subject of said intercept was conversations between Grant Roy, Sean Lockhart, Harlow Cuadra, and Joseph Kerekes. During said conversations, Cuadra stated that he was present when the victim was murdered. Cuadra spoke of conversations the victim had with various individuals while Cuadra was present. Both Cuadra and Kerekes referenced the victim's records which were kept within his residence as being "gone". Both Cuadra and Kerekes stated that they viewed approx fifty five "master tapes" which were removed from the victim's residence, as well as business records. Cuadra and Kerekes subsequently destroyed said items, as they would be considered "proof". Cuadra then stated that illustrated items remained in his residence for approx two days. Cuadra added that he was going to afford a tape to Roy and Lockhart as a gift, but it was "too hot". Cuadra also referenced the victim's Rolex watch, and described the initials engraved on the back. Both Cuadra and Kerekes also referenced two computer towers and a laptop computer which were removed from the victim's residence, all of which was destroyed. Cuadra also illustrated how he and another "did some recon work", and described that the victim's front door didn't have a "peephole" in it, and further described it as "two square blocks of windows on top and Bryan's not tall enough to see through that". Cuadra continued; "it was quick; he never saw it coming". Cuadra also stated that while he was at the victim's residence, he heard the victim calling Lockhart a "little bitch" and the "product". Cuadra stated to Lockhart; "don't feel too bad". Kerekes added that the victim had a contract prepared for Cuadra at the time of Cuadra's arrival. Both Cuadra and Kerekes intimated that the victim was aware of Cuadra's real identity, and continued with the meeting nevertheless. Cuadra also stated that during his initial meeting with the victim, they were drinking wine, to which Kerekes stated that he believed that Cuadra "slipped (the victim) something" in his drink. At some point, the doorbell rang and the victim "was kind of stumbling, and uh, that was it". Cuadra and Kerekes both illustrated the interior of the victim's residence, specifically the victim's high-end, expensive home entertainment center. Cuadra and Kerekes also stated that the victim desired for Cuadra to "move in", and illustrated an upstairs bedroom as was found to be at the victim's residence. Cuadra then stated that he believed that the victim recogized him from the Internet, to which Cuadra became concerned. At that point, the victim picked up the phone and Cuadra's "dude" "came around", and "it was crazy". Cuadra then referenced insulting comments made by the victim towards Lockhart and Roy, the stated "... and it's what kind of made the whole decision kind of easy. Almost a little too easy... and I should of thought where all those fingers would have pointed, I remember lookin at the press... I'm just glad that shit's over". Cuadra later went on to say that "the cops put it (investigation) on the back burner". Cuadra additionally made the statement; "... actually seeing the fucker going down actually it's sick but it made me feel better inside. It almost felt like I got revenge and I know that sounds fucked up..." Cuadra and Kerekes then again illustrated a modeling contract which the victim had prepared for Cuadra to sign. Kerekes then interjected; "Harlow had all the little documents he (victim) told him to bring and he didn't even ask for them". Cuadra responded; "Oh no he didn't ask for my ID". Cuadra and Kerekes then stated that the victim expected that he and Cuadra were going to "have sex all night" without the victim paying Cuadra any money for same. It should be noted that conversation about other topics not related to the victim's death occured regularly intermixed with discussions concerning the planning, execution, and subsequent destruction of evidence related to the investigation.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

D.A.: Get Cuadra Outside Counsel

Harlow Cuadra

The Times Leader reports: Prosecutors say public defenders should not be representing homicide suspect Harlow Cuadra.

The Luzerne County prosecutors say a conflict of interest exists with public defenders representing Cuadra because two public defenders previously represented the victim in the case, and now those two public defenders might be called to testify at Cuadra’s homicide trial.

The prosecutors want a judge to postpone all matters in the homicide case until attorneys from outside the public defender’s office are appointed to represent him.

Public defenders had been representing Cuadra and Kerekes. But Kerekes was later appointed public attorneys from outside the public defender’s office.

That came after a public defender, attorney Jonathan Blum, made the request. Blum said a conflict existed with public defenders representing both men because the men, at trial, could accuse the other as the principal killer.

Also, Blum and attorney Al Flora Jr., the county’s first assistant public defender, had represented Kocis in the past and might be witnesses at the homicide trial.

But Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Ciavarella only appointed outside counsel to Kerekes.

The latest request to have attorneys from outside the public defender’s office represent Cuadra came this week by assistant district attorneys Mike Melnick, Tim Doherty, Shannon Crake and William Dunn.

They, too, said outside attorneys should be appointed to Cuadra because Blum and Flora represented Kocis in the past and are now potential witnesses in the homicide case.

Flora was interviewed by police in the homicide investigation and gave them information that was “relevant and material,” the prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say they want to ensure Cuadra “receives a fair and impartial trial.”

Ciavarella previously appointed attorneys John Pike, Mark Bufalino and Shelley Centini to defend Kerekes.

They are attorneys on the county payroll and not associated with the public defender’s office, and are provided to indigent defendants who have a conflict of interest with the public defenders.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Crossing Your T's and Dotting Your I's

Harlow and Joe

With previous motions being filed by the prosecution and defense requesting that Harlow Caudra and Joseph Kerekes be assigned conflict attorneys and not public defenders (Joe already won his motion)... some folks may be wondering what the heck is going on. In my hopes of making this a little more clear, I'll try to explain:

Attorneys Al Flora and Jonathan Blum previously represented Bryan Kocis, and might be called to testify at the Cuadra/Kerekes trial. The main concern here is that Flora and Blum had involvement in a previous Kocis case, and since Flora's the the second-in-command at the PD's office... there's no telling what influence his inside information may have on those under him. (Blum has since been removed from the case).

We also need to keep in mind that if there is a conviction for either defendant, it can certainly be overturned on appeal if an appellate court believes that Harlow Cuadra and/or Joseph Kerekes was not defended properly or legally. So it's understandable why both sides would want to address this issue now. There was also a situation very similar to this one that came up in a past death penalty case. It ended up being appealed before trial, and caused a long delay before the trial could even start.

The argument here isn't about the specific public defenders assigned to the case, but the fact that they are involved at all... especially since their boss (Flora) could potentially be called as a witness.

This is one of those rare events that both the prosecution and defense agree on the same outcome desired... so it'll be interesting to see what happens. I'm guessing this motion will likely go to Judge Olszewski to decide.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Harlow and Joe's Dockets Updated Today

Update 11/23/07 @ 12:27 PM: The Times Leader has picked up the story, and basically reiterates what was mentioned in the previous update, one bit of new information though is that "the prosecutors want a judge to postpone all matters in the homicide case until attorneys from outside the public defender’s office are appointed to represent him" [Cuadra].

Update 11/23/07: The motions filed by the DA this past Wednesday was for the following reason:


The DA says the public defenders should not represent Cuadra because of a conflict of interest. Attorneys Al Flora and Jonathan Blum previously represented Bryan Kocis and might be called to testify at the Cuadra/Kerekes trial. Flora and Blum are public defenders, creating a conflict of interest.

If you recall, the public defenders office previously presented this motion to Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. on 10/12/07.

---
Both Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes' dockets have been updated today:

1. 11/21/2007 Comm's Motion to Disquaify PD's Office to Represent Def-Harlow Cuadra filed by Luzerne County District Attorney's Office

2. 11/21/2007 Comm's Brief In Support of Motion to Disqualify PD from Representation of Def-Harlow Cuadra filed by Luzerne County District Attorney's Office

I'm trying to find out exactly why these motions were filed, as I'd prefer to not speculate. Not sure I'll get an answer until Friday, but here's to keeping my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harlow and Joe's Trial Open Thread...

Since things are likely to be awfully quiet this week in regards to any 'new' news... I'm going to leave it up to you the readers to decide what topics you'd like to discuss. As long as it's relevant to the Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes' murder trial... by all means debate away.

If something newsworthy actually does occur this week, I'll be sure to post it immediately.

Have a Safe & Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

So Just Who is this Alibi/Witness Nep?

That's a question I've been asking myself for the past week. Who is Nepthali Cuerpo Malaki (aka Nep), and why would he risk his own freedom to 'save' Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes?

Since it's the weekend, and with nothing else better to do... I went looking:

Nepthali/Nathaneal has lived in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area most, if not all of his life. From Shelton Park Elementary in 1977, to attending Tidewater Tech in 1999.

He also seems to have had some trouble with finances... first starting with a judgement against his real estate on 12/17/02 for the small sum of $36.81 to Scotts Express Lube, Inc.:



Then Nep has a warrant in debt filed against him on 12/21/06 for $3,198.08, with the plaintiff being Ingram Auto Sales, a default judgement was granted on 4/13/07:



Apparently Nep chooses not to pay... so the court garnishes his wages on 04/23/07... while being employed at a local Norfolk, VA Wendy's. The garnishment is eventually satisfied on 8/31/07:



Maybe it's just me, but financial problems seem to be a recurring subject in this entire case. One has to wonder what Nep's motive really is in trying to help Harlow and Joe. Perhaps he truly is nothing more than a concerned friend... or just maybe there's something else motivating him.

Correction: I had initially reported that Nep was married, and then divorced. I've since discovered that it was actually a brother of his, and not Nep. So that reference has now been removed, and I regret the error.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Harlow Cuadra's 'Witness' Responds...

I received an email yesterday morning from Nepthali Cuerpo Malaki of Virginia Beach, VA responding to a post I did a few days ago in regards to the DA accusing a witness, or witnesses of lying about Harlow's whereabouts the infamous night Bryan Kocis was brutally murdered:

"Hi,

I just sawmy picture on the net postedyes my name is Nep I know Harlow cuadra for six years I was with Harlow on Jan 24, 2007around the day time hours one thing I want to clarify is when I talked with Harlow that dayI asked him what is he going to do the rest of the day? one thing I noticed a silver vehicle parkedi aske him did you buy this vehicle no he said he rented it because he was going to drive town as i could remember he said camping trip. yes I have chatted with Jody Wheeler cause I read a article about Harlow being question about the murder in pa. one thing I want to say is when this happened to Harlow Ihave been there for him 100 percent and supported him and I will continued to do so as I promise him and his family."

Now what makes this whole thing so strange is that a source tells me that Nep contaced them about being an "alibi" too. They referred him to the district attorney's office. Apparently a detective spoke with him about his and Cuadra being together that night. Once the detective told Nep he could be arrested for providing false information to police, he recanted his story.

With that in mind, one can only wonder why Nep would continue to tell this same story, when Joseph Kerekes has already placed Harlow at Bryan's house the night of the murder. Somebody's lying, I just don't know who.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quick Update

Joseph Kerekes' court docket was updated today:

11/15/2007 Sealed Oder filed by Judge Olszewski IN SAFE

Unfortunately... since the order is sealed, we'll have to wait to see what it is.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Harlow Cuadra Responds to Out Magazine

In a letter to the Editor on page 26, Harlow Cuadra writes:

I want to thank Out for publishing the article on the death of Bryan C. Kocis, [October 2007, "The Case of the Cobra Killer"]. I would also like to thank Michael Joseph Gross, for putting it all together in an unbiased form. Joseph M. Kerekes and I were at our most vulnerable when the interviews (with Mr. Gross) for that article took place. Your writer could easily have exploited us for information or cast a darker cloud over us in order to make the story entertaining. He did neither. Mr. Gross was also sensitive and considerate when interviewing Joseph's elderly parents. He was a complete gentleman and an excellent ambassador for Out.

Your new Out reader 4 life,
Harlow R Cuadra
Scranton, PA

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Commentary: Thanksgiving in Jail...

With Thanksgiving almost upon us, I was interested in finding out if both Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes... (still in custody awaiting trial at the Lackawanna and Luzerne County Prisons for the brutal murder of Bryan Kocis)... would be celebrating their 'turkey day' with a traditional-style dinner. The answer seems to be yes.

Though Harlow and Joe won't be enjoying the holiday with friends and family... sources tell me that both men will likely be served a traditional course of turkey, stuffing/mush, mashed potatoes (real or powdered), canned green beans, canned cranberry sauce, and one dinner roll.

Certainly doesn't sound like a Charles Dickens' moment to me... but at least it's better than being faced with having to request your last meal... for now.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Could This be Harlow's Alibi Witness?

Shortly after Harlow Cuadra became a suspect in the brutal murder of Bryan Kocis, his lover and business partner Joseph Kerekes (Mark) states to reporters that Harlow was 'working' in Virginia Beach the night Bryan was killed (The Times Leader reported on February 9, 2007 that Harlow said he was with a client for three hours). Harlow's previous attorney Barry Taylor even makes a statement after Harlow and Joe's arrest that "his client has an alibi, a reliable man who puts him in Virginia Beach at the time of the murder".

Is it possible that 42-year old Nepthali Cuerpo Malaki of Virginia Beach, VA is the witness/alibi in question:

aka... nep malaki:


aka... nep:


aka... internetguy134:


aka... pinoyguy165:


Nep (aka... pinoyguy145) also readily admits to being a client of Harlow's for 6 years in a chat with Jody Wheeler back in February:



Nep (and his aliases) has spent an unusual amount of time praising Harlow over the past 10 months... perhaps it's simply an infatuation with Harlow... another purpose... both... or just maybe this is one of the alibi witnesses the DA claims to have lied.

Guess we'll find out when the judge rules on the motions filed.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Harlow and Joe's House (Redux III)

Harlow and Joe's House

The residence at 1028 Stratem Court, owned by accused murderers' Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes is still for sale, with an asking price of $699,000.00 (MLS ID # 0740371) - nothing new there. I did notice an update to the description however, and just couldn't help but wonder if they were getting too many people wanting to view the house simply to take pictures:

"ALREADY PRICED LOW AND STILL OFFERING SOME CLOSING! HURRY! YOU WON'T FIND THIS SQ FT & UPGRADES IN THE BCH AREA 4 LESS. MOTIVATED SELLER! NO PHOTOS ALLOWED OF INTERIOR PER SELLERS-ANY TAKEN WILL BE PROPERTY OF OWNERS. SELLER WILL REPLACE FL DOWNSTAIRS W/HRDWD/TILE & COUNTERS IN KITCHEN W/GRANITE."

With both defendants' claiming to be indigent... who's actually going to be footing the bill for the upgrades?

What We've Learned From Tuesday's Filings...

Luzerne County Commonwealth Attorneys office filed several motions on Tuesday (11-05-07), alluding to the fact that they have even more evidence to present at trial... this is on top of the mountain of evidence previously known:

-Harlow Cuadra & Joseph Kerekes burglarized Kocis’ home

-Harlow Cuadra & Joseph Kerekes approached individuals to ask them to give police false information about their whereabouts the day Kocis died

-Harlow Cuadra & Joseph Kerekes destroyed some of Kocis’ personal property

Burglary offense defined: A person is guilty of burglary if he enters a building or occupied structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, with intent to commit a crime therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter. Now we all know that the original burglary charge was dropped during the preliminary hearing, so the DA's office isn't trying to charge them criminally for this, but it does appear that what they do have is evidence to show that Harlow and Joe were in fact in Bryan's house... if true, it would be a very key piece of evidence.

The second one about asking individuals to lie for Harlow and Joe is a pretty damning piece of evidence. This would bring more witnesses in for the prosecution, and would show that Harlow wasn't in Virginia Beach with a client on the night of the murder (though Joe did a good job of dispelling that notion already), and that Harlow and Joe asked others to lie about it, in trying to cover up their crime(s). Innocent people don't generally go around asking others to lie for them.

Harlow and Joe destroying some of Bryan's property is an interesting one. In actuality, they destroyed a lot of property after setting the fire. This would tell me that the prosecution has been able to find evidence of specific property that was destroyed. An educated guess is that they have evidence of the property being destroyed at the 1028 Stratem Court residence.

Since these are motions filed, we won't know if any of the above will be allowed to be heard during the trial until the judge rules, and the consensus seems to be it'll probably take a few months. The defense still has to respond. Then there will be a hearing. Then he'll rule. Also, he might wait until the defense files their pre-trial motions to have one big hearing on all of the motions.

The wheels of justice can be slow at times.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Key Kocis Trial Witness Deployed to Iraq

Justin Hensley

The Times Leader is reporting that a key witness expected to testify against two men accused of killing a gay porn producer has been deployed to Iraq, prosecutors say.

Now, prosecutors are fighting to use the past testimony given by Justin Hensley at a preliminary hearing against the slaying suspects, Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes.

At a preliminary hearing on the charges, Hensley testified he heard Cuadra and Kerekes discuss Kocis and his company, Cobra Video.

Hensley said Cobra Video was preventing the porn business of Cuadra and Kerekes from expanding.

Hensley testified that Cuadra and Kerekes wanted to work with gay porn actor Sean Lockhart but couldn’t because Lockhart was under a contract with Kocis’ company.

But Hensley, a soldier in the U.S. Army, will be unavailable to testify at the March trial for Cuadra and Kerekes, the prosecutors said.

Hensley “is part of an Army unit that is currently deployed in Iraq,” according to the court papers filed by assistant district attorneys Mike Melnick, Tim Doherty, Shannon Crake, and William Dunn.

(UPDATED 1:19 PM) Prosecutors also want permission to introduce evidence of other “crimes” or “wrongs” the men committed relevant to the slaying. They want to show evidence that Cuadra and Kerekes:

burglarized Kocis’ home; ran an escort service and illegal prostitution service; approached individuals to ask them to give police false information about their whereabouts the day Kocis died; and destroyed some of Kocis’ personal property.

Prosecution Wants Escort Service Included in Murder Trial

Luzerne County Prosecution

The Citizens Voice is reporting the following in regards to yesterday's motions filed:

Harlow Raymond Cuadra and Joseph Manuel Kerekes are accused of slashing and stabbing Bryan Kocis inside his Midland Drive home and then torching the house to cover up the crime. Prosecutors filed a number of motions in the case Tuesday seeking to enter evidence in the case and prevent the lovers and business partners from bringing up Kocis’ past crimes in trial.

Cuadra and Kerekes planned to eliminate their competition to fuel the expansion of their “fledgling” pornography business, prosecutors allege. The district attorney’s office is asking Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. for permission to present evidence about Cuadra and Kerekes’ business dealings during their trial.

“Specifically, the evidence of the defendants’ male escort and pornography business clearly shows and demonstrates that both defendants viewed Cobra Video, the company owned by the victim, as their main rival and their whole object was to form a plan to rub out Bryan Kocis and secure the services of Sean Lockhart, the star of Cobra Video,” the prosecution argues in one motion.

Kocis owned and operated Cobra Video, a lucrative pornography production business, from his home.

Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes

Cuadra, 26, and Kerekes, 33, remain jailed until their trial, which is tentatively scheduled for March 28. Potential appeals of motions filed Tuesday could delay the case indefinitely.

The district attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty against both men. Kerekes’ attorney, John Pike, and Cuadra’s public defenders, attorneys Jonathan Blum and Bill Ruzzo, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

As for the motions, the district attorney’s office also wants to tell jurors about Cuadra and Kerekes’ alleged attempts to provide false alibis to deflect blame in the case.

“Their plan to commit murder did not end with homicide, but continued thereafter when they attempted to cover up their crime by soliciting individuals to provide law enforcement investigators with false information as to where Defendant Harlow Raymond Cuadra was on Jan. 24, 2007 (the day of Kocis’ death),” prosecutors argue in another motion.

Kocis’ guilty plea to a corruption of minors charge also has no bearing on Cuadra and Kerekes’ case, according to prosecutors. They want to prevent Cuadra and Kerekes’ attorneys from telling jurors about Kocis’ 2001 arrest for having sex with a 15-year-old boy he met online, according to Luzerne County court documents.

Prosecutors accepted Kocis’ plea, agreeing the boy had lied about his age and the teenager and his family said they wanted to avoid trial.

Because the prosecution is seeking the death penalty, the district attorney’s office wants an independent psychologist to interview Cuadra and Kerekes. The prosecution also wants to review any defense psychological reports prior to the penalty phase, should either man be convicted of first-degree murder.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Docket Update for Harlow & Joe...

These motions were just filed by the DA's office against Harlow Cuadra & Joseph Kerekes this afternoon:

1. 11/06/2007 Comm's Omnibus Pretrial Motion filed. Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
2. 11/06/2007 Notice of Comm's Intention to Seek Evidence of Other Crimes of the Def under Rule 404b filed Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
3. 11/06/2007 Comm's Motion In Limine filed. Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
4. 11/06/2007 Comm's Brief In Support of Omnibus Pretrial Motion filed. Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
5. 11/06/2007 Comm's Brief In Supportof Comm's 404b Motion filed. Luzerne County District Attorney's Office

The Plea: Interview With a Judge

While we wait to see if Harlow Cuadra and/or Joseph Kerekes choose to make a deal with the Luzerne County District Attorney's office, I thought I'd post a link to an interesting interview done by PBS with a criminal court judge in Harris County (Houston), Texas.

In the interview, he talks about the plea bargain's vital role in the criminal justice system and how the plea process works in his courtroom, and he describes his own role as a judge. While he defends pleas, he acknowledges that the vital "human element" is required to guarantee that the system works correctly: "Plea bargaining only works if you have experienced, competent defense attorneys, experienced, competent prosecutors, and a judge who will make sure this is done properly."

While this clearly isn't a judge from Luzerne County, it does give some interesting insight to how I'm sure most judges probably feel towards a defendent accepting a plea:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Why Plea Bargain?

With the current rumors floating around that Harlow Cuadra may accept a plea bargain from the Pennsylvania DA's office... I thought it would be interesting to re-post a story written by KM on August 9, 2007:

"What are the chances that before this case is over, either Mr. Cuadra or Mr. Kerekes (or both) will throw in the towel and just plead guilty to the charges? The short answer would be, “mighty high,” if only because that’s what most defendants do.

A video from the Criminal Justice channel has some basic information. But what makes a proper plea bargain? Well, it has two parts: the information and the waiver. Both are required.

First, the client has to know what he’s doing. He has to be represented by counsel, and has to be informed of all the consequences incumbent with his plea.

Next, he has to voluntarily waive certain of his rights. In effect, a plea bargain is like a supercharged version of that Miranda waiver that police try to get bad guys to sign so that they might be questioned. Only in this instance, the defendant is essentially waiving his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in toto.

If proof of one of the two elements is missing, the judge will throw out the plea deal. That’s right, before it’s done, the whole thing has to go before the trial judge to get him or her to sign off. The judge is under no legal compulsion to agree to the deal.

In practice, however, plea agreements are seldom invalidated by the bench. The agreements do get breeched from time to time—usually because prosecutors find out that the defendant lied about something during the course of plea negotiations.

Now, there is also a special sort of guilty plea that pops up very rarely: the Alford plea. That’s a plain, old guilty plea with a twist: the defendant does not admit guilt. In all other ways— in sentencing, as a record of previous bad acts in subsequent trials, as a criminal step toward Habitual Offender status— the Alford plea is just like a standard guilty plea. It's also peculiar and passingly infrequent.

Finally, there’s the plea that uniquely splits the difference between guilty and not guilty: No contest (AKA nolo contendere, among the guys who took Latin in prep school to boost their SAT Verbals.)
A defendant who pleads ‘no contest’ is basically refusing to put up a legal fight. In essence, he gets treated thereafter just as if he had pleaded guilty, except the plea “is in no way an admission of guilt and [differs from an Alford plea in that] it cannot be introduced in future trials as evidence of incorrigibility. Nevertheless, courts do not have to accept a plea of nolo contendere, and usually do not, except in certain nonviolent cases. [*] "

Friday, November 2, 2007

Joe's Blog Hacked

Joseph Kerekes' Blog

It would appear that sometime overnight, a Turkish group calling themselves "KRALBAY & SoNSuZSiYaH" hacked the blog of Joseph Kerekes. Meanwhile Harlow Cuadra's blog remains online.

Update (11/3/07): Harlow/Joe's blog, and boybatter.com are now all offline.

Update (11/3/07 @ 6:55 PM): All three sites are back online.