Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kerekes Might Use Alibi Defense

Joseph Kerekes

The Times Leader is reporting that homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes might call witnesses to say he was at a Plains Township hotel when Bryan Kocis was being killed miles away inside his Dallas Township home, according to court papers.

Attorneys for Kerekes filed the notice of possible alibi defense, as required by law, Wednesday morning.

The court papers indicate Kerekes might present a defense that shows he was inside room 211 of the Fox Ridge Hotel on state Route 315 at the time of the slaying.

His attorneys, Mark Bufalino, John Pike, and Shelley Centini, said they have witnesses they might call to support that claim. Those witnesses are Matthew Brannon, of North Carolina, and representatives from Yahoo Inc., Verizon Wireless, MSN Hotmail, and Sprint/Nextel.

The attorneys also filed a number of pre-trial motions Wednesday. Those motions contain requests to move the trial out of Luzerne County, have separate trial for Kerekes and co-defendant Harlow Cuadra, and prevent the prosecutors from using any statements Kerekes made to police, the contents of any conversations recorded at a California beach, and the contents of any evidence seized from Kerekes' e-mail account and Virginia home.

Update @ 3:47 PM: The Citizen's Voice also picks up the story... pretty much saying the same things, with a few more details:

Joseph Kerekes wasn't in the Back Mountain when Bryan Kocis was murdered in his Dallas home, according to a possible alibi defense Kerekes' attorneys filed Wednesday in the Luzerne County Courthouse.

Kerekes was at the Fox Ridge Hotel in Plains Township when the murder occurred and has as many six witnesses to verify his claims, according to the notice.

Mark Bufalino and Kerekes' other attorneys filed the alibi notice and several other motions Wednesday, including a change of venue request.

Luzerne County cannot pull an impartial jury because of the "extensive, inflammatory, sensational" pre-trial publicity in local newspapers and television.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hearing Postponed

The status conference that was originally scheduled for Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes on 01/30/08 has been rescheduled to 02/20/08, according to court orders filed by Judge Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr. on 01/29/08.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fannick Will Defend Cuadra in Homicide Case

Demetrius Fannick

The Times Leader is reporting that homicide suspect Harlow Cuadra has a new attorney.

Attorney Demetrius Fannick on Monday filed court papers indicating he will be representing Cuadra in his homicide case in the death of Bryan Kocis, a gay porn producer.

Cuadra had been represented by public attorneys from outside the public defender’s office. Kerekes is also represented by public attorneys from outside the public defender’s office.

Fannick could not be reached Monday.

He is most known for his defense of homicide suspect Hugo Selenski. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Selenski in the 2003 shotgun slayings of suspected drug dealers Frank James and Adeiye Keiler.

Selenski was cleared of those homicide charges after a jury trial in 2006. He was found guilty of abuse of a corpse for burning the men’s bodies.

Selenski is now awaiting trial in the deaths of pharmacist Michael Kerkowski and Tammy Fassett. Fannick is not representing Selenski in that case.

The Citizen's Voice also carries the story, and includes:

Fannick would not disclose how much Cuadra paid for his services or where those funds came from. Most of Cuadra's assets were seized through a separate legal proceeding.

But Cuadra and Joseph Manual Kerekes, his alleged accomplice, were trying to raise money for their defense on the Internet.

"I'm on board and it's my understanding this will be a trial," Fannick said. "I don't see any other way it's going to be resolved, unless the DA's office drops the charges. My client maintains his innocence."

A Return to 'Normal'...

Starting Wednesday, things around here will be back to normal. I've been in Alaska since last Wednesday, and will be returning to Virginia tomorrow (Tuesday) - late. Since I'll be on a plane or in an airport from 2:00 AM AST until 9:30 PM EST - there won't be any updates done during this time.

Some stories I am planning to work on (once I recover from jet-lag) are as follows:

1. The Transcripts for the Beach Tapes (Day 2).

2. Harlow's possible new attorney (note: as of this post, Fannick hasn't entered his appearance yet, and until that's done, it's not official... so I'll be waiting for that to happen before discussing this topic any further).

3. Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes' status conference on January 30, 2008.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Harlow and Joe Misc. Docket Updates

Over the past week or so, there's been a few updates to the dockets of Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes. Probably the most notable is the release of the transcripts for the Cuadra/Kerekes San Diego Beach Tapes (hopefully I'll have more on that subject shortly).

Here's a list of the most recent updates:

1. 01/22/2008 Supplemental Brief In Opposition to def Kerekes' Motion for Bill of Particulars filed. Luzerne County District Attorney's Office

2. 01/22/2008 Comm's Brief In Opposition to Def Kerekes' Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed. Luzerne County District Attorney's Office

3. 01/22/2008 Kerekes/Cuadra Tape (Day 2, San Diego, California Nudist Beach) filed.

4. 01/22/2008 Steno Record from Preliminary Hearing on 8-20-07 from Mag Tupper filed. MDJ-11-3-09

5. 01/22/2008 Steno record from Preliminary Hearing on 8-23-07 at Mag Tupper's filed. MDJ-11-3-09

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cuadra Felt Better After Kocis Murder, Transcript Says

The Citizen's Voice is reporting that accused killer Harlow Raymond Cuadra couldn’t sleep for a week after the killing of Back Mountain porn producer Bryan Kocis, but the murder “made me feel better inside,” Cuadra says in a 108-page transcript of a wire tap of Cuadra and his accused accomplice Joseph Kerekes on a San Diego beach.

Luzerne County Assistant District Attorneys Tim Doherty and Michael Melnick filed the document Tuesday at the county courthouse.

Cuadra and Kerekes discuss their fledgling adult film business, making adult films with Sean Lockhart and how Kocis’ murder negatively affected their business in the transcript.

Lockhart, along with adult film producer Grant Roy, worked with police to set up the wire tap on April 28. Kerekes and Cuadra killed Kocis to lure Lockhart from Kocis’ Cobra Video to their business, prosecutors claim.

In the transcript, Cuadra talks about how to get rid of Kocis’ business and how paperwork related to it likely burned in the fire.

“Well, if you guys wanna take care of Cobra for once and for all,” Cuadra said. “I don’t think there’s a real hurry on it, unless he had a copy of all that paperwork at his lawyer’s office, it’s all gone.”

Cuadra and Kerekes tell Lockhart and Roy about several of Kocis’ possessions during the transcript, from computers to video equipment.

“That’s misinformation …,” Cuadra said in the transcript. “(Kocis) took everything and showed it to me for proof and … I got rid of all of that (stuff) too, it’s all disintegrated, it’s all gone computers, everything.”

Cuadra and Kerekes also repeatedly discussed in the transcript media reports about the murder and what they saw at Kocis’ house. Cuadra said he did “recon” of the place. He dismissed the idea that Kocis would have had to “know his killer” and let him in. He described the front door and said it didn’t have a “peephole” but there were “two square blocks of windows on top and Bryan’s not tall enough to see through that.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Prosecutors respond to Kerekes

According to the Times Leader - Luzerne County prosecutors say they don’t have to reveal whether they believe homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes was the principal killer of Bryan Kocis or just an accomplice.

And even if Kerekes was just an accomplice, they could still seek the death penalty for him if he helped commit the slaying, prosecutors say.

The prosecutors made the claims in court papers filed Tuesday in part of their ongoing pre-trial squabble with Kerekes’ attorneys.

One of Kerekes’ attorneys, Mark Bufalino, had previously asked a judge to force prosecutors to reveal whether they believe Kerekes was the principal or accomplice.

Bufalino needs to know, he said, because he believes it is legal to only seek the death penalty for a principal killer.

If prosecutors do not believe Kerekes is the principal killer, Bufalino indicated he could ask that prosecutors be barred from seeking the death penalty for Kerekes.

Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Mike Melnick has said evidence in the case “fully suggests” both suspects could be principals in the case.

And in the court papers filed Tuesday by a team of prosecutors, they said they should not have to reveal who they believe is the principal killer and accomplice because “different inferences might reasonably be drawn from the evidence as to who nearly decapitated Mr. Kocis.”

It should be a jury’s job, the prosecutors said, to determine principal and accomplice.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. will decide after a Jan. 30 hearing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Harlow and Joe's Charges... Spelled Out

As a follow-up to the criminal complaint... I also wanted to list the charges filed against Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes (since the burglary charges were dismissed, they are not included):

CRIMINAL HOMICIDE
Section 2501(a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about said date, THE DEFENDANT intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently caused the death of Bryan Charles Kocis, another human being, that is to say the defendants were responsible for the victim being slashed across his throat with a cutting instrument, as well as being stabbed twenty eight times, in violation of Section 2501(a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 2501(a).

CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT CRIMINAL HOMICIDE
Section 903(a)(1)/2501(a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about said date, THE DEFENDANT, with the intent of promoting or facilitating the crime(s) of Criminal Homicide conspired and agreed with Joseph Manual KEREKES that they or one or more of them would engage in conduct constituting such crime or crimes or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime or crimes, and in furtherance thereof did commit the overt act of murdering victim Bryan Charles Kocis that is to say the defendant along with KEREKES did cause the victim to suffer a slash wound to his throat, as well as twenty eight stab wounds to his body, in violation of Section 903(a)(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 903(a)(1).

LIABILITY FOR THE CONDUCT OF ANOTHER, COMPLICITY
Section 306(b)(3)(ii)/2501(a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about said date, THE DEFENDANT did commit the act of Criminal Homicide while being the accomplice of another, namely, Joseph Manuel KEREKES, in the commission of said offense, and did aid or agree or attempt to aid KEREKES in planning and/or committing the offense, in violation of Section 306(b)(3)(ii) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 306(b)(3)(ii).

ROBBERY
Section 3701(a)(1)(i) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about said date, THE DEFENDANT, in the course of committing a theft, inflicted serious bodily injury upon Bryan Charles Kocis, that is to say the defendant did, along with Joseph Manuel KEREKES, slash the victim's throat and stab him twenty eight times, after which the accused removed numerous items from the victim's residence, not having license or privilege to do so, in violation of Section 3791(a)(1)(i) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 3701(a)(1)(i).

ARSON AND RELATED OFFENSES
Section 3301(a)(1)(i) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about said date, THE DEFENDANT intentionally started a fire or caused an explosion or aided, counseled, paid or agreed to pay another to cause a fire or cause an explosion at 60 Midland Drive, Dallas Twp., Luzerne County, Pa., owned by Bryan Charles Kocis causing pecuniary loss in excess of $25000 and thereby recklessly placed responding emergency personnel in danger of death or bodily injury, that is to say the defendant did, in concert with Joseph Manuel KEREKES, intentionally start a fire at aforementioned location for the purpose of criminal destruction of said property as well as the concealment of a crime, in violation of Section 3301(a)(1)(i) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 3301(a)(1)(i), as amended.

ARSON AND RELATED OFFENSES
Section 3301(a)(1)(ii) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about said date, THE DEFENDANT intentionally started a fire or caused an explosion or aided, counseled, paid or agreed to pay another to cause a fire or cause an explosion for the purpose of destroying or damaging an inhabited building or occupied structure of another, namely 60 Midland Drive, Dallas Twp., Luzerne County, Pa., owned by Bryan Charles Kocis causing pecuniary loss in excess of $25000 that is to say the defendant did, in concert with Joseph Manuel KEREKES, intentionally start a fire at aforementioned location for the purpose of criminal destruction of said property as well as the concealment of a crime, in violation of Section 3301(a)(1)(ii) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 3301(a)(1)(ii), as amended.

THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING OR DISPOSITION (Movable Property)
Section 3921(a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about the said date, THE DEFENDANT unlawfully took or exercised unlawful control over movable property of another, namely, two computer towers, a laptop computer, a Rolex watch, two video cameras, and multiple business records or the victim having a value in excess of two thousand dollars belonging to Bryan Charles Kocis with the intent to deprive the owner thereof, that is to say the defendant did remove aforementioned items from the victim's residence having not the license or privilege to do so, in violation of Section 3921(a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 3921(a).

TAMPERING WITH OR FABRICATING PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
Section 4910(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about the said date, THE DEFENDANT, believing that an official proceeding or investigation, namely, Homicide Investigation was pending or about to be instituted, altered, destroyed, concealed or removed, the victim's body as well as the scene of the victim's death, as well as numerous items from within the victim's residence with intent to impair its verity or availability in such proceeding or investigation, that is to say the defendant did burn the victim's body as well as the scene of the victim's murder, as well as remove and subsequently destroy multiple items of evidence which would have been found within the victim's residence, in violation of Section 4910(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 4910(1).

ABUSE OF CORPSE
Section 5510 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about the said date, THE DEFENDANT, without authorization of law, treated the corpse of Bryan Charles Kocis in a way that the defendant knew would outrage ordinary family sensibilities, that is to say the defendant did stab the victim twenty eight times after his death, and did burn his body, in violation of Section 5510(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 5510(1).

CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ROBBERY
Section 903(a)(1)/3701(a)(1)(i) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about the said date, THE DEFENDANT, with the intent of promoting or facilitating the crime(s) of Robbery conspired and agreed with Joseph Manuel KEREKES that they or one or more of them would engage in conduct constituting such crime or crimes or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime or crimes, and in furtherance thereof did commit the overt act of theft by inflicting serious bodily injury to the victim that is to say the defendant did in conjunction with accused KEREKES slash the victim's throat and did subsequently commit a theft of the victim's property, in violation of Section 903(a)(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 903(a)(1).

CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT TAMPERING WITH OR FABRICATING EVIDENCE
Section 903(a)(1)/4901(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about the said date, THE DEFENDANT, with the intent of promoting or facilitating the crime(s) of Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence conspired and agreed with Joseph Manuel KEREKES that they or one or more of them would engage in conduct constituting such crime or crimes or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime or crimes, and in furtherance thereof did commit the overt act of destroying evidence pertinent to a Homicide investigation that is to say the defendant did in conjunction with accused KEREKES destroy multiple items of evidence as well as burn the victim's body and attempt to destroy the scene of the victim's homicide, in violation of Section 903(a)(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 903(a)(1).

CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT ARSON
Section 903(a)(1)/3301(a)(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about the said date, THE DEFENDANT, with the intent of promoting or facilitating the crime(s) of Arson conspired and agreed with Joseph Manuel KEREKES that they or one or more of them would engage in conduct constituting such crime or crimes or an attempt or solicitation to commit such crime or crimes, and in furtherance thereof did commit the overt act of arson, that is to say the defendant did, along with accused KEREKES, set fire to the victim's residence for the purpose of criminal destruction of said property as well as the concealment of a crime, in violation of Section 903(a)(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 903(a)(1).

CRIMINAL USE OF COMMUNICATION FACILITY
Section 7512(a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
IN THAT, on or about the said date, THE DEFENDANT used a communication facility to commit, cause or facilitate the commission or the attempt thereof of the crime of Criminal Homicide and Burglary, which constitute a felony as defined by this Title 18, in violation of Section 7512(a) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Act of December 6, 1972, 18 Pa. C.S. 7512(a).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Next Hearing: 01/30/08

Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes

Accused murder suspects Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes will be attending their next status/pre-trial conference on January 30, 2008. There are several motions that Judge Olszewski should be ruling on:

The prosecution made a motion to amend the wording in criminal conspiracy to commit arson charges filed against the men. It didn't get much attention because it was apparently just a typo. I believe the prosecutors, when they filed the formal charges in county court, put in the wrong subsection for that charge. For instance, they might have written 18 Pa. C.S.A. 3301 (a)(1)(i) when they actually meant 18 Pa. C.S.A. 3301 (a)(1)(ii).

With this charge, I think the differences in the subsections was whether they allegedly lit the fire to destroy evidence or endanger others. I don't recall exactly which one they meant to write, but they wrote the other.

Kerekes' attorneys also say prosecutors did not present enough evidence at the preliminary hearing to take Kerekes to trial on all his charges, homicide included. His attorneys want all the charges tossed out and Kerekes released from prison. It is essentially an appeal of the preliminary hearing ruling and commonly done in almost every homicide case here.

Ruzzo asked for Cuadra to be transferred from the Lackawanna County prison to Luzerne County Correctional Facility, because Cuadra’s confinement status is making it more difficult to prepare his defense. Melnick has argued Cuadra and Kerekes should be kept at separate facilities in the interest of justice.

The most interesting motion (perhaps) is the one filed by Kerekes' attorney Mark Bufalino, in which he says that the prosecutors need to indicate whether they believe Kerekes was the principal killer, accomplice, or co-conspirator. The issue, Bufalino says, is that he believes prosecutors can only seek the death penalty for a principal killer. Meanwhile Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Mike Melnick says evidence in the case “fully suggests” both suspects could be principals in the case. Judge Olszewski has already received the legal briefs from both sides outlining their arguments, and may rule on this motion as well.

Judge Olszewski has also given both sides until January 31, 2008 to file any additional motions, but it wouldn't surprise me if we hear about these (if any) new filings/requests during this hearing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

One Year Ago Today... Joe Tells the World

Joseph Kerekes

Looks like Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes didn't waste any time after returning from Vegas ... an email originally posted on Julien's now defunct blog, sent by Joe (aka Trent/Mark/etc...):

-----Original Message-----
From: NME correspondence [mailto:stareyes23510@yahoo.com]
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 9:33 AM
To: (masked for his protection)
Subject: Hello to all our valued supporters from Mark @ http://www.boisrus.com/

WE HAVE A BRAND NEW LOOK @www.boybatterdvd.com!,...one that will ensure better and more ease in shopping for our titles...speaking of which...we have a brand new one

"Toys in Boys" and this one is chalk full of stud splaying with each other and 10 inch dildos..yes even justin & mason could take it :-)

A HUGE UPDATE FOR XXX SITE www.boybatter.com is that Harlow and Mark just returned from AVN awards in las Vegas where we sat down with Porn Twink mega star "Brent Corrigan" and discussed a partnership in filming and collaboration in porn site efforts and dvd distribution! WOW...so look forward to exciting announcements as we follow down this unknown path with some of the biggest names in our indusrty :-)

sensation Harlow is currently on duty in the field with the marine corps but was able to take leave for this important meet and will return to escorting soon

AS SPECIAL BOISRUS SUPPORTERS I am offering this new dvd title "Toys in Boys" for 30 bucks with free shipping

simply forward your cc info ; cc # expiration date and3 digit security code asap!

MANY NEW UPDATES HAVE BEEN MADE TO http://www.boybatter.com/ AS WELL please peruse our entirely new free preview area and check for yourself!

See you soon

Mark
************************



Hmm... one can only imagine what hopes and fantasies were running through Joe and Harlow's minds at the time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What Happened in Vegas... Didn't Stay in Vegas

Sean Lockhart, Harlow Cuadra, Grant Roy

One year ago this weekend, Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes set off to Las Vegas for the GayVN awards, and to have dinner with Sean Lockhart and Grant Roy. Now one year later, it seems apparent that Bryan Kocis' fate was probably sealed, even before Harlow and Joe flew back to Virginia Beach.

We already know the two were in the early stages of a financial breakdown... yet they still fly out to Vegas and purportedly spend thousands... strange.

It would also appear, based on the affidavit and testimony given at the preliminary hearing, that Harlow and Joe likely had this whole murder Bryan plan in their minds before they even went to Vegas. If they didn't, why would Harlow just come out of the blue and say "What if Bryan left the country, and what if he went to Canada?"... with Joe adding that "Harlow knows someone who would do anything for him".

Since there hasn't been any evidence presented to prove that Sean and Grant made any mention of them wanting Kocis 'gone' during the dinner conversation... why would Harlow and Joe even make these comments?

Then we have the infamous emails sent by Joe to Grant, with the most telling being: "and we all know what u said to us at the avn in vegas and have it on tape recorder and out conversation at le Cirque is recorded as well don't fuck with us"

Surprisingly ( or probably not ) this tape recorded conversation has yet to surface. Believe me, if it really did exist, Harlow and Joe would have handed it over to the authorities by now... wouldn't they?

With Joe sending out announcements immediately after they got back from Vegas, stating a "partnership" with Sean and Grant ( even though there wasn't one )... it makes me wonder if the Vegas trip was nothing but a ruse, and that Harlow and Joe had planned to use the dinner against Sean and Grant if they decided not to work with H&J. Based on Joe's threatening comments to Grant, it would sure seem that way.

By all accounts and purposes... it looks like Harlow and Joe's plan really backfired. I can only guess that Harlow and Joe truly did believe that old saying: "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas".

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cuadra and Kerekes... Misc. Pre-Trial Notes

Over the course of this pre-trial, there will be times when things happen that really just don't warrant a post of their own. Hence, I'm going to start doing periodic 'grouped posts' that will cover these otherwise 'un-mentioned' events, all in an effort to still keep everyone up-to-date as to what's going on.

Docket Updates:

01/03/2008 Order of Court filed by Judge Olszewski . Extension of Time Granted to 1-31-08 for both Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes.

01/03/2008 Sealed Order of Court filed by Judge Olszewski in regards to Joseph Kerekes - IN SAFE

01/08/2008 Order of Court filed by Judge Olszewski. Transport Harlow Cuadra for Hearing on 1-30-08.

Miscellaneous News:

On 01/08/2008 the Citizen's Voice ran a story about the swearing-in of new District Attorney Musto Carroll. She makes a statement saying that Assistant District Attorneys Michael Melnick and Tim Doherty will handle the murder trial of Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes, accused of killing Bryan Kocis at his Back Mountain home this past January.

“We’ll see down the road if I get involved in the Kocis case, but right now it’s in very able hands with Michael Melnick and Tim Doherty,” she said. “I promise to be in the courtroom. That’s where I’ll be working.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Suit in Wolf's Clothing?

Ever since the Wrongful Death Suit was filed by Michael Kocis/Bryan Kocis' Estate against Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes on Monday, there seems to be some questions as to the validity of such a suit... namely based on this statute under PA law:

"42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 9145: Immunity from service of process in certain civil actions.

A person brought into this Commonwealth by or after waiver of extradition based on a criminal charge shall not be subject to service of personal process in civil actions arising out of the same facts as the criminal proceedings, to answer which he is being or has been returned, until he has been convicted in the criminal proceeding or, if acquitted, until he has had reasonable opportunity to return to the state from which he was extradited
."

Let us all remember that Harlow and Joe chose to fight extradition, which ultimately required a Governor's Warrant to send them on their merry way to PA... so this statute does not apply since neither waived extradition. Seems pretty cut and dry really... so I'm not sure why it's become so difficult for some to comprehend.

Also notice the words "certain civil actions". If Kocis' estate was not able to file this suit now, one would think Kerekes' attorney John Pike would have said a little more than just "the filing of a civil suit alongside a murder trial is rare". Contrary to some beliefs... these folks aren't amateurs.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Kocis vs. Cuadra & Kerekes

After yesterday's surprise court filing by Bryan Kocis' father Michael... we're now given a little more information about the wrongful death suit against accused murder suspects Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes:

According to the Times Leader: Michael Kocis’ attorney, Conrad Falvello, said he’s unsure whether the suspects have any assets to recover for damages, but the family has a “fiduciary duty to at least pursue” that and see “if there are any assets that may be recoverable.”

“It was not something the family just wanted to give up on,” he said. “We’re going after them.”

The suit, filed in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, claims Cuadra and Kerekes entered Bryan Kocis’ home and “jointly” or “separately” caused Bryan Kocis’ death and destroyed the home and property.

The home, from which Bryan Kocis operated his business, had a fair market value of at least $170,000, and the personal property and other contents had a fair market value of at least $150,000, the suit said.

The death, the suit said, was caused by the “carelessness, recklessness, negligence, and/or wanton disregard for” Bryan Kocis.

“(Bryan Kocis) was caused to die from the fatal injuries sustained at the hands of the defendants,” Falvello wrote in the suit.

The Kocis family has incurred many bills and suffered from mental and physical pain, suffering and anguish, the suit said.

Meanwhile the Citizen's Voice reports: “It’s just something they felt obligated to pursue,” said Conrad Falvello, Michael Kocis’ lawyer. “We don’t know what we’re going to get. We don’t know yet if (Cuadra and Kerekes) have any money, or any insurance.”

The filing of a civil suit alongside a murder trial is rare, said John Pike, one of three court-appointed lawyers representing Kerekes.

According to court documents, the family is seeking damages to cover income Bryan Kocis would have made running his Cobra Video Web site had he not been killed, funeral expenses the destruction of his home and possessions inside as well as the cost of the civil suit.

Many of the assets Cuadra and Kerekes shared in Virginia Beach — including a business account totaling $26,000, a Dodge Viper, Chevrolet Corvette, Honda Civic and a BMW — were forfeited to the Commonwealth of Virginia in August in an unrelated racketeering case.

The two were left with only their $500,000 home, which at the time of the forfeiture held a hefty mortgage.

Falvello would not identify any sort of goal for the suit, but court documents filed by him Monday morning list the combined fair market value of the destroyed house and possessions inside as $320,000.

It is unclear who will defend Cuadra and Kerekes in the suit. Both men are represented by court-appointed attorneys in their criminal case.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Too Little ... Too Late?

According to Mark Adams at VidioView, a press release (PORN FOR A CAUSE) was purportedly issued early this morning (5:10 AM) with the acknowledgement and confirmation of Jason Ridge:

(LOS ANGELES, CA)--The industrys megastars JASON RIDGE and DANNY VOX have taken on a cause that is worth fighting for HARLOW CUADRA'S DEFENSE FUND. These two award winning industry actors have giving a huge donation to HARLOW'S DEFENSE FUND, there time with filming the hottest scene with all the proceeds going to HARLOW'S DEFENSE FUND. When asked about giving his support to Harlow JASON RIDGE replied "I felt compelled to do this because as a fellow performer in the business we have to look out for one another". he added "Harlow deserves a fair trial and he is desperately in need of money. As an American everyone deserves a fair trial, unfortunately that means you need a lot of money. This is just my way of trying to help and once again innocent until proven guilty. Once again JASON RIDGE is making history coming to the aid of another performer and the legal system He feels very passsionate this battle is worth fighting for..fair for you, fair for me, and fair for us!

Future projects are in discussion for other performers to join the ranks with JASON RIDGE AND DANNY VOX to support their fellow performer and friend.

---

After chatting with Mark, I still have my doubts as to the validity of this claim... but assuming it is true... I guess the question now is... just how much was earned and donated?

To be honest, I can't imagine this scene grossed a considerable amount of money... which is exactly what Harlow Cuadra would need right now. Though I'm sure the Kocis estate would be happy if it did.

Porn Producer's Father Sues Suspected Killers

Update @ 12:57 PM: The caption of the suit is: Michael Kocis, Executor of the Estate of Bryan C. Kocis, deceased, vs. Harlow Raymond Cuadra and Joseph Manuel Kerkes.

The Case Number is: 117 of 2008.
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According to breaking news from the Times Leader, the father of a slain porn producer filed a lawsuit Monday against the producer’s suspected killers.

Michael Kocis, the father of Bryan Kocis, filed suit against Harlow Raymond Cuadra and Joseph Manuel Kerekes.

Cuadra, 26, and Joseph Kerekes, 34, are charged with homicide in the Jan. 24, 2007, slaying of Kocis, a gay porn producer. Investigators claim the two Virginia men killed Kocis, their rival in the gay porn industry, inside his Dallas Township home and then set the house on fire.

Kocis, 44, was found dead by firefighters.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Michael Kocis, through Sugarloaf-attorney Conrad Falvello, filed the suit in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of damages for wrongful death and destruction of property.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

15 Minutes of Infamy?

I've read several comments made throughout the blogosphere recently... all claiming that an apparent 15 minute gap occurred between the time Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kereks allegedly left Bryan Kocis' house, to when the first 911 call to authorities was placed.

Meanwhile... according to the arrest affidavit and preliminary hearing witness testimony... the following happened:

8:30 PM - A witness testifies 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.

8:34 PM - Signals from two cell phones registered to Joseph Kerekes are processed through a cellular tower on Country Club Road in Dallas Township.

8:34 PM - At approx 2034 hrs., the Dallas Township Fire Department was dispatched and responded to 60 Midland Drive, Dallas Township, Luzerne County for the report of a structure fire involving a residential dwelling.

Perhaps I've missed something, or maybe these folks making the claims know more than authorities do... but there certainly doesn't appear to be a 15 minute gap. It seems more likely that it was around 4-5 minutes. I'm not sure where the extra 10 came from.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hints of Things to Come - Separate Trials?

Joseph Kerekes and Harlow Cuadra

While Thursday's orders by Judge Olszewski did not specifically state anything about Joseph Kerekes' trial, the orders for both cases said "trial in the within matter is hereby continued until further order of this court," even though Harlow Cuadra was the only one to request a continuance.

As of right now, Harlow and Joe are still being tried together... but I'd be willing to bet that attorneys for both sides will ask for separate trials in their pre-trial motions. And, based on recent local court rulings, they'll probably get their wish.

That would make any trial date null and void for the time being. I'm assuming that Judge Olszewski didn't address the trial date... or specify a new one for Harlow Cuadra, because there's a lot of things that have yet to be sorted out, including the likelyhood of there actually being separate trials.

Harlow Cuadra Gets New Lawyers

The Times Leader is reporting that homicide suspect Harlow Cuadra will get new attorneys and a new trial date.

A judge on Thursday granted a prosecution request to remove attorneys from the public defender’s office from defending Cuadra.

Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. appointed attorneys Paul Galante, Stephen Menn and Michael Senape to defend Cuadra.

They are part of a group of attorneys called conflict counsel, which are publicly funded attorneys outside the public defender’s office.

The judge also postponed the trial in the case indefinitely.

Cuadra, 26, and Joseph Kerekes, 33, both of Virginia, are charged with homicide in the January 2007 slaying of gay porn producer Bryan Kocis inside his Dallas Township home. Investigators claim the two men killed Kocis, their rival in the gay porn industry, inside his home and then set the house on fire.

Kocis, 44, was found dead by firefighters.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Cuadra and Kerekes.

They also wanted public defenders William Ruzzo and John Donovan removed from defending Cuadra because two other public defenders might be called as witnesses in the homicide trial.

That would create a conflict of interest, assistant district attorneys Mike Melnick, Tim Doherty, Shannon Crake and William Dunn said.

Olszewski on Thursday ordered Cuadra’s new attorneys to meet with Ruzzo and Donovan within seven days to discuss Cuadra’s case and exchange evidence. Kerekes is also represented by conflict counsel.

The judge initially set jury selection to begin March 24. But Cuadra’s public defenders had said they would need more time to prepare for trial.

Olszewski, in his order, said “trial in the within matter” is postponed until further order of the court.

The judge also gave prosecutors permission to amend the wording in criminal conspiracy to commit arson charges filed against the men.

A hearing is set for Jan. 30 to discuss a number of issues: whether Kerekes’ charges should be tossed; whether prosecutors have to reveal which suspect they believe is the principal killer; and whether Cuadra should be transferred from the Lackawanna County Prison to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
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Interestingly, Menn and Galante are currently dealing with another DP case in Luzerne County.