Friday, February 29, 2008

Fannick Says DA is Trying to "Disparage" His Reputation

Demetrius Fannick

The Times Leader is reporting that ever since attorney Demetrius Fannick was successful in defending double homicide suspect Hugo Selenski, the Luzerne County District Attorney's office has been trying to "disparage" his reputation, the attorney said.

That "pattern" is continuing, he said, in the office's latest move to try and have him disqualified from representing homicide suspect Harlow Cuadra.

Prosecutors are asking a judge to remove Fannick from defending Cuadra because Fannick had previously met with Cuadra's co-defendant, Joseph Kerekes. Fannick's meetings with Kerekes, they said, creates a conflict with him representing Cuadra.

But Fannick, in court papers filed Friday in response to the request, said no conflict exists because he had "limited his discussions" with Kerekes to "preliminary matters," mainly legal fees.

That's all, Fannick said.

And prosecutors knew that, he said, but they still sought Fannick's removal from the case because of Fannick's win in the Selenski case and other cases, he said. Selenski in 2006 was cleared of homicide charges, but convicted of abuse of a corpse charges in connection with the deaths of two suspected drug dealers.

Fannick said he has done nothing unethical, and there is no reason for him to be removed from the case.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. will rule on the disqualification request after a hearing next week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prosecution's Witness List: 385 of Them

Update: The list has been reduced to 93... and updated version can be found here.

On February 11, 2008... the prosecution stated they have 385 "prospective witness" that they may call to rebut the the possible alibi defense of homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes... I'm sure that some, if not most of these witnesses will also be used to rebut Harlow Cuadra as well. After plenty of typing, I offer you the first 115... the other 270 will be add over the course of the next few days to save on sanity:

The Commonwealth, by and through District Attorney Jacqueline Mutso Carrol, Assistant District Attorney Michael Melnick, Assistant District Attorney Timothy M. Doherty, Assistant District Attorney Shannon Crake, and Assistant District Attorney William Dunn submits its response to Defendent Joseph Kerekes' Notice of Possible Alibi Defense. Attached hereto is a list of all prospective witnesses the Commonwealth may call to rebut the Defendant's alibi defense. The Commonwealth reserves the right to supplement this response at any time:

  1. Cpl. Leo Hannon - Pennsylvania State Police
  2. Tpr. Stephen Polishan - Pennsylvania State Police
  3. Tpr. Gerard Sachney - Pennsylvania State Police
  4. Tpr. Martin Connors - Pennsylvania State Police
  5. Tpr. Ronald Jarocha - Pennsylvania State Police
  6. Tpr. Charles Prula - Pennsylvania State Police
  7. Tpr. Brian Murphy - Pennsylvania State Police
  8. Lt. Francis Hacken - Pennsylvania State Police
  9. Tpr. Stephen Kelly - Pennsylvania State Police
  10. Cpl. Michael McTavish - Pennsylvania State Police
  11. Tpr. Michael Golay - Pennsylvania State Police
  12. Tpr. Russell Andress - Pennsylvania State Police
  13. Tpr. Sean Georgia - Pennsylvania State Police
  14. Tpr. Michael Gownley - Pennsylvania State Police
  15. Cpl. Michael Ruhf - Pennsylvania State Police
  16. Tpr. Timothy Young - Pennsylvania State Police
  17. Tpr. Robert McKee - Pennsylvania State Police
  18. Tpr. Russell Andress - Pennsylvania State Police
  19. Tpr. Robert Kennedy - Pennsylvania State Police
  20. Tpr. Michael Boone - Pennsylvania State Police
  21. Tpr. Joseph Plant - Pennsylvania State Police
  22. Ofc. Todd Adams - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  23. Ofc. Brian Feeney - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  24. Sgt. Doug Higgins - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  25. Det. Lt. Daniel Yursha - Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
  26. Det. Daniel Beky - Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
  27. Det. Capt. Michael Dessoye - Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
  28. Tpr. Dave Cusatis - Pennsylvania State Police
  29. Special Agent James Glenn - Federal Bureau of Investigation
  30. Dr. John Consalvo - Luzerne County Coroner's Office
  31. Chief Harry Vivian - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  32. Det. Robert Donaldson - San Diego Police Department
  33. Special Agent Kim Kelly - Naval Criminal Investigative Services
  34. Special Agent Andrew Pappas - DEA San Diego Field Division
  35. Sgt. John Rivera - San Diego Police Department
  36. Investigator Ron Thill - San Diego District Attorney's Office
  37. Det. Lynn Rydalch - San Diego Police Department
  38. Det. Laurie Agnew - San Diego Police Department
  39. Representative(s) - America Online, Inc.
  40. Representative(s) - Cox Communications, Inc.
  41. Representative(s) - Yahoo, Inc.
  42. Representative(s) - Verizon Wireless
  43. Representative(s) - MSN/Hotmail
  44. Representative(s) - Sprint/Nextel
  45. Representative(s) - American Registry of Internet Numbers
  46. Representative(s) - TracFone
  47. Cpl. Mark Filarsky - Pennsylvania State Police
  48. Cpl. Charles Sands - Pennsylvania State Police
  49. Chief Robert Jolley - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  50. Ofc. Wayman Miers - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  51. Cpl. Kenneth Martin - Pennsylvania State Police
  52. Custodian of Records - Luzerne County 911 Communications Center
  53. Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Lisman - Luzerne County Coroner's Office
  54. Deputy Coroner Tom Moran - Luzerne County Coroner's Office
  55. Dr. Mary Pascucci - Physicians Clinical Laboratory
  56. John A. Hosage, DDS - Mr. Z's Shopping Center
  57. Dr. John G. Evans
  58. Cpl. Thomas Wall - Pennsylvania State Police
  59. Beverly Atherholt
  60. Jennifer Farrell
  61. Patrick Farrell
  62. Betty Lamoreux
  63. John Bendick
  64. Kim Bendick
  65. Ryan Raike
  66. Eugene B. Marriggi
  67. David Shedletsky
  68. Staci Shedletsky
  69. Edward Fritinger
  70. Edwin Johnson
  71. Carol Donlon
  72. John Donlon
  73. Susan Perry
  74. Troy Deluca
  75. Sharon Gilbert
  76. James Gilbert
  77. Donna Yachim
  78. Stephenie Yachim
  79. Kaytlin Yachim
  80. Jason Fierman
  81. Justine Fierman
  82. Cpl. Edward Kreidler - Pennsylvania State Police
  83. Paul Hill
  84. Ofc. Robert Odgers - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  85. Ralph Szalkowski
  86. Kirby Szalkowski
  87. Michelle Bryant
  88. Carl Yachim
  89. Edward Geist
  90. Jennifer Hughes
  91. Ryan Rake
  92. Adam Niebauer
  93. Jeanette Niebauer
  94. Florence Scutt
  95. Amy Withers
  96. Amy Zamerowski - Vehicle Witness
  97. Michael Parsons
  98. Richard Buckman
  99. Melody Bartusek - Bryan Kocis' Sister
  100. Joyce Kocis - Bryan Kocis' Mother
  101. Michael Kocis - Bryan Kocis' Father
  102. Michael Martinez
  103. Candice Martinez
  104. Luke Fox
  105. Tpr. Joseph Cigich - Pennsylvania State Police
  106. Ofc. Ryan Rogers - Pennsylvania State University Police
  107. Jerome Huff, Jr.
  108. Deborah Roccograndi
  109. Peter Kennedy
  110. Konrad Szymanski
  111. James Tindio
  112. James Kendreth
  113. Luaren Kaye
  114. George Creel
  115. Jonathon Grimes
  116. Christine Owens
  117. Hubert Ruch
  118. Philip Belusko
  119. Robert Wagner - Kocis' Personal Assistant
  120. Mordhay Green
  121. John Dawe
  122. Dan Yurko
  123. Bill Egan
  124. Atty. David Lipka
  125. Atty. Sean Macias
  126. Lee Bergeron
  127. Dave Hourigan
  128. Atty. John Yates
  129. James Kimmel
  130. Atty. Samuel Hall
  131. Representative - Woodlands Inn & Resort
  132. Representative - Best Western East Mountain Inn
  133. Representative - Econo Lodge Arena
  134. Lt. Janet McNeal - Pennsylvania State Police
  135. Kathy Coslett
  136. Robin Agtiz - PNC Bank
  137. Bartikowsky Jewelers
  138. Representative - Nationwide Insurance Company
  139. Representative - Luxury Limousine Service
  140. Bernard Balutis
  141. Garth Bardsley - MTV
  142. Jonathon Regnier
  143. Alex Puente - Cobra Video Webmaster
  144. Joseph Bartusek
  145. Jennifer Wasilewski
  146. Chief Jeff Butler - Harvey's Lake Boro Police Department
  147. Ofc. Charlie Musial - Harvey's Lake Boro Police Department
  148. Dominick Policare
  149. Michael Hatala
  150. Representative - Ciccotti Jewel Case
  151. Representative - Rolex Coporation
  152. Ronald Abbott
  153. Larry Sprankle - UPS Store
  154. Daniel Jones - USPS - Dallas Branch
  155. Daniel Hildenbrandt
  156. Reginald Thomas
  157. Jason Stahl
  158. Jared Bartusek
  159. Christian Henriquez
  160. Atty. Michael Hudacek, Jr.
  161. Sean Lockhart
  162. Grant Roy
  163. Det. Paul Bradbury - Upper Marion Police Department
  164. Peter Maneos
  165. Ryan Faught
  166. Atty. Timothy Dietschak
  167. Michelle Earlley
  168. Representative - Avis Car Rental
  169. Representative - Hertz Car Rental
  170. Representative - Budget Car Rental
  171. Representative - National/Alamo Car Rental
  172. Benjamin Gilbert
  173. Chris Kapus
  174. Chase Shaver
  175. Matthew Kurtz
  176. James Quare, Jr.
  177. Heather Quare
  178. Ryan Davenport
  179. Michael Wahl
  180. Matthew Menist
  181. John Ross
  182. Thomas Johnson
  183. Richard Pittman
  184. John Verrilli
  185. Jason Sechrest
  186. Troy Pickett - President, Falcon Entertainment
  187. Representative - Diplomatic Security Service
  188. Harry Strait
  189. Representative - Holiday Inn Express
  190. Representative - Quality Inn & Suites
  191. Representative - Knights Inn
  192. Representative - Super 8 Motel
  193. Cpl. Chris Wilson - Pennsylvania State Police
  194. Jaye Deveraux
  195. Dale Young - Pennsylvania State Police
  196. Det. Sean Coerse - Virginia Beach Police Department
  197. K.J. Kelly - Virginia Beach Police Department
  198. Andrew Jordan
  199. Maria Jorden
  200. Maria Dunlap
  201. Keith Lanyi
  202. Michelle Lanyi
  203. Stephen Mooney
  204. Jeffery Kuzniewski
  205. Eunice Kuzniewski
  206. Sergeri Jazexhiu
  207. Liri Jazexhiu
  208. Andrew Shunk
  209. Curtis Carrol
  210. Donna Carrol
  211. Dean Dayao
  212. Jennifer Dayao
  213. James Martin
  214. Renee Martin - Harlow's Angel of Truth?
  215. Medell Medrano
  216. Ming Zhage
  217. Michael Johnson
  218. Representative - Gold's Gym
  219. Representative - Inlet Fitness
  220. Kimberely Hensley - Justin Hensley's Mother
  221. Richard Hensley - Justin Hensley's Father
  222. Justin Hensley - Witness currently in Iraq
  223. Fred Kerekes - Joe's Father
  224. Rosalie Kerekes - Joe's Mother
  225. Stephanie Woodhouse
  226. Atty. Barry Taylor - Harlow & Joe's former Attorney/Client
  227. Sgt. G Robert Winn - Virginia Beach Police Department
  228. Mitch Halford
  229. Representative - Marriott Hotel Norfolk VA
  230. Lance Treadway
  231. D.W. Clanton - Virginia Beach Police Department
  232. Representative - Enterprise Car Rental
  233. Det. C.A. Acosta - Virginia Beach Police Department
  234. Atty. Paul Powers
  235. Anthony Martinez
  236. Joseph Zalusky
  237. Kile Poffenbrager
  238. Beau Adams
  239. Tyler Ashley
  240. Tpr. Chris King - Pennsylvania State Police
  241. Deputy Ronald Colantonio - Loudoun County Sheriff's Office
  242. Representative - The Planet International Service, Inc.
  243. Custodian of Records - Indiana University
  244. Sgt. Jonny Sweeney - Indiana University Police
  245. Representative - Domains by Proxy
  246. David Jacobsen
  247. Representative - USA People Search
  248. Custodian of Records -
  249. Custodian of Records - IAC Search & Media
  250. Legal Dept. - Nokia USA
  251. Jose Dieudonne - Arcadia University
  252. Robert Richards
  253. David Mitchell
  254. Custodian of Records - Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.
  255. Representative - Digital Video Information Network
  256. Custodian of Records -
  257. Kyle Thomas
  258. Det. Brent Riddick - Virginia Beach Police Department
  259. Atty. Edward Carnot
  260. Stephen Troger - 24/7 Fitness Gym
  261. Richard Youngman
  262. Atty. Kelly Ramsey
  263. Tony Alberti - TWIST Bar & Nightclub
  264. T.J. Gordon
  265. Jonathan Ross
  266. Representative - Doubletree Hotel Virginia Beach
  267. Atty. Scott Alleman
  268. John Riggs - Western Tidewater Regional Jail
  269. Det. Ryan Jason - Virginia Beach Police Department
  270. Det. Ryan Chabot - Virginia Beach Police Department
  271. Custodian of Records - WBRE
  272. Custodian of Records - WNEP
  273. Custodian of Records - Virginia Beach Correctional Facility
  274. Cpl. Gary Zales - Virginia Beach Correctional Facility
  275. Robert Tolley - Virginia Beach Correctional Facility
  276. Walter Smith - Virginia Beach Correctional Facility
  277. John Tierney - Virginia Beach Correctional Facility
  278. Travis Bohny - Virginia Beach Correctional Facility
  279. Carlos Ortega - Virginia Beach Correctional Facility
  280. Angel Berdecia - Virginia Beach Correctional Facility
  281. Thomas Baker - Nationwide Insurance Company
  282. Representative - Sony Electronics, Inc.
  283. Nep Malaki - Former Alibi Witness for Harlow
  284. Det. Lt. Deborah Parker - Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
  285. Robert Rodden - Pennsylvania State Correctional Institute
  286. Custodian of Record - National Climatic Data Center
  287. George Skaluba - Federal Bureau of Investigation
  288. Robert Richards
  289. Sgt. William Stone - United States Army National Guard
  290. Det. Matthew Childress - Virginia Beach Police Department
  291. Tpr. Ronald Zukosky - Pennsylvania State Police
  292. Joanne Armaghan - Pennsylvania State Police
  293. Mary Hockensmith - Pennsylvania State Police
  294. Det. Michael Baggot - Federal Bureau of Investigation
  295. Special Agent Scott Wilson - Federal Bureau of Investigation
  296. Special Agent Terrence Mullen - Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  297. Daniel Tamir - Aviator South Beach Properties
  298. Brenden McArdle - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  299. Timothy Rismondo - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  300. Leonard Roginski - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  301. Ralph Schwartz - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  302. Tonya Gannon - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  303. Ronald Hall, Jr. - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  304. Steven Neiman - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  305. Alan Harvey - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  306. Michael Hawk - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  307. Brian Price - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  308. Christopher Purcell - Dallas Twp. Fire Deparment
  309. Mark Vanetten - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  310. Jack Wega - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  311. Robert Besecker - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  312. Dean Fitch - Dallas Twp. Fire Department
  313. Clarence Newcomb - Shavertown Fire Department
  314. Jeffery Beisel - Shavertown Fire Department
  315. Thomas Lyons - Shavertown Fire Department
  316. Jerry Paxton - Shavertown Fire Department
  317. Erik Sowga - Shavertown Fire Department
  318. Joseph Balavage - Shavertown Fire Department
  319. Gary Beisel - Shavertown Fire Department
  320. John Berti - Shavertown Fire Department
  321. James Klug - Shavertown Fire Department
  322. Kevin Lehman - Shavertown Fire Department
  323. Ryan Moss - Shavertown Fire Department
  324. Kris Harger - Shavertown Fire Department
  325. Dennis Bonning - Lehman Fire Department
  326. Barney Dobnick - Lehman Fire Department
  327. Bill Hagenbaugh - Lehman Fire Department
  328. James Jones - Lehman Fire Department
  329. George Sabulski - Lehman Fire Department
  330. Ofc. Mike Liparella - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  331. Ofc. Christy Elias - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  332. Ofc. Joseph Filippini - Dallas Twp. Police Department
  333. Custodian of Records - AT&T Wireless
  334. Custodian of Records - Citizens Bank
  335. Custodian of Records - Bank of America, N.A.
  336. Custodian of Records -
  337. Custodian of Records - T-Mobile USA, Inc.
  338. Custodian of Records - Domains by Proxy
  339. Custodian of Records - Airline Reporting Corp.
  340. Custodian of Records - Lackawanna County Correctional Facility
  341. Custodian of Records - Luzerne County Correctional Facility
  342. Representative - JR Video
  343. Representative - Sony Global
  344. Michael Gross - Out Magazine
  345. Reporter - MTV Network, Inc.
  346. Reporter - Boston Globe
  347. Custodian of Records - Bank of America
  348. Custodian of Records - Capital One Bank
  349. Custodian of Records - M&T Bank
  350. Custodian of Records - Pac One Telecommunications
  351. Custodian of Records - UCN, Inc.
  352. Custodian of Records - Qwest Communications
  353. Custodian of Records - UCN Long Distance
  354. Custodian of Records - Commonwealth Telephone Company
  355. Custodian of Records - Commonwealth Telephone/CTSI, Inc.
  356. Custodian of Records - Cingular Wireless, Inc.
  357. Custodian of Records - Verizon Pennsylvania, Inc.
  358. Custodian of Records - Frontier Telephone of Rochester, Inc.
  359. Custodian of Records - Verizon New York, Inc.
  360. Custodian of Records - SBC West
  361. Custodian of Records - Telcove
  362. Custodian of Records - OPEX Communications Service
  363. Custodian of Records - PAETEC Communications
  364. Custodian of Records - Qwest LCI International
  365. Custodian of Records - Sprint Long Distance
  366. Custodian of Records - Virginia PCS Alliance L.C.
  367. Custodian of Records - ALLTEL Communications, Inc.
  368. Custodian of Records - R.I.T.
  369. Custodian of Records - Trans Union Corporation
  370. Custodian of Records - Choice One Communication, Inc.
  371. Custodian of Records - Verizon Virginia, Inc.
  372. Custodian of Records - XO Communications
  373. Custodian of Records - Nextel Partners
  374. Custodian of Records - Virginia PCS Alliance L.C.
  375. Custodian of Records - Verizon South
  376. Custodian of Records - NTELOS Network - Virginia
  377. Custodian of Records - Bell South
  378. Custodian of Records - Level 3 Communications
  379. Custodian of Records - Yipes Communication, Inc.
  380. Custodian of Records - USA Search Com Inc.
  381. Reporter - Rolling Stone Magazine
  382. Edward Lewis - Times Leader
  383. Janice Hall - Virginia Beach Police Department
  384. Representative - Virginia Beach Police Department SWAT
  385. James Frankel

Fannick's Motion to Keep Cuadra at Lackawanna County Prison

Lackawanna County Prison


NOW comes the defendant, Harlow Raymond Cuadra, by and through his attorney, Demetrius W. Fannick, Esquire, and represents as follows:

1. The defendant was arrested on or about May 15, 2007 and charged with Homicide and other offenses.

2. The defendant has been held without bail due to the nature of the charges filed against him.

3. The defendant has been and is presently housed at the Lackawanna County Prison, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

4. At some proceeding prior to the Entry of Appearance by undersigned counsel the defense, through its lawyers at the time, the Luzerne County Public Defender's Office, apparently made an Oral Motion to the Trial Court requesting the transfer of the defendant, Harlow Raymond Cuadra, from the Lackawanna County Prison to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility pending trial in this case.

5. By Court Order dated January 3, 2008, the Commonwealth’s Motion to Disqualify the Public Defender’s Office from representation of defendant, Harlow Raymond Cuadra, was granted and Stephen Menn, Esquire, Paul Galante, Esquire, and Michael Senape, Esquire were appointed to represent Mr. Cuadra in their capacity as conflict counsel for Luzerne County. That Order fbrther directed new counsel to file a written Motion addressing the prior transfer request on or before January 25, 2008 and to be prepared to present testimony in support of the same at a hearing scheduled for January 30, 2008.

6. No Motion was filed of record and the January 30, 2008 hearing date was continued by the Court and rescheduled to February 20, 2008.

7. On January 28, 2008, Demetrius W. Fannick, Esquire entered his appearance to represent the defendant, Harlow Raymond Cuadra, in this matter.

8. Demetrius W. Fannick, Esquire has met with Mr. Cuadra on numerous occasions and has discussed in detail with the defendant the issues involving the location of his pretrial detention.

9. Although continued placement at the Lackawanna County Prison requires approximately one hour of travel time (to and from) per visit, it is the desire of the defendant, Hartow Raymond Cuadra, and his present counsel, Demetrius W. Fannick, Esquire, that the defendant remain housed at the Lackawanna County facility because:

(a) Mr. Cuadra has been a model inmate and has received no infractions, misconducts, etc. and has been treated fairly within said institution;

(b) Mr. Cuadra has received/been awarded a job/position within the institution which he would obviously lose if transferred;

(c) Prison officials and corrections officers have been very accommodating to defense counsel;

i. scheduling and allowing visits at a location within the prison to allow access for defense counsel and the defendant to exchange/review documents and otherwise more easily communicate;

ii. allowing extended visits for hours at a time without interruption or restrictions.

(d) Mr. Cuadra is housed/located in the general population at the Lackawanna County Prison. At all times that he was held briefly at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for court appearances, he had been placed in an isolated location away from other inmates.

10. In the event that an oral Motion or request to transfer the defendant to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility remains under consideration or advisement by this Court, the defendant and his counsel respectfiully withdraw that request.

11. The defendant, Harlow Raymond Cuadra, requests that he be allowed to remain at the Lackawanna County Prison at this time pending trial in this matter.

WHEREFORE, defendant requests that any pending Motion/request for transfer to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility be withdrawn and that he be allowed to remain at the Lackawanna County Prison pending trial.

Respectfully submitted,


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

DA's Brief in Support of Motion to Disqualify Fannick

Demetrius Fannick

Here's a summary of the Commonwealth's Brief in Support of Motion to Disqualify Attorney Demetrius Fannick from Representation of Harlow Cuadra. Since the entire Brief is 32 pages, I figured it would be easier to sum things up by just posting the Conclusion to the Brief:

The Commonwealth requests this Honorable Court to disqualify Attorney Fannick from representing Harlow Cuadra in this case. First, the Commonwealth contends that the attorney-client relationship was formed with Joseph Kerekes and Attorney Fannick. Attorney Fannick in his press release stated his desire to represent Mr. Kerekes and thereafter, issued a statement proclaiming his opinion that the case was very defendable. As the United States Supreme Court has acknowledged, sometimes a lawyer's duties encompass defending a client in the court of public opinion. Attorney Fannick did just that.

Attorney Fannick met with Joseph Kerekes eight times. Undoubtedly, there was a discussion as to the attorney's fee. It stands to reason that Mr. Kerekes also discussed sensitive privileged matters with Attorney Fannick such as his defense of the charges, since Attorney Fannick announced that the "case was very defendable". If an attorney-client relationship existed, Joseph Kerekes may waive the conflict of interest created by Attorney Fannick. The Court may reject such a waiver. Such a proffered waiver should be rejected by the Court. In a penalty phase of this case, there may be finger pointing by the two Defendants as to who is more culpable, ie., who slit the victim's throat. This potential conflict, combined with Attorney Fannick's extensive discussions with Kerekes, while representing Harlow Cuadra, require Attorney Fannick's disqualification.

"In order to avoid acquiring disqualifying information, a lawyer considering whether or not to undertake a new matter may limit the initial interview to such confidential information as reasonably necessary for that purpose". Comment 4 to Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8.

Here, Attorney Fannick had extensive contact with Joseph Kerekes; in fact, Attorney Fannick's contact with Kerekes was much more extensive than his contact with Cuadra. Furthermore, Attorney Fannick did no screening of Mr. Kerekes. The Rule provides this as a way to avoid disqualification. Attorney Fannick has the resources of the Criminal Law Center to screen clients but failed to do so. As noted in the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers, section 15, Reporter's Notes, the extent and scope of Attorney Fannicks discussions with Joseph Kerekes require his disqualification. See Comment C.

Allowing Attorney Fannick to represent Cuadra would likely result in reversible error should either or both of the Defendants be found guilty of the crimes charged, therefore, the Commonwealth respectfully requests that this Honorable Court grant the Commonwealth's motion to disqualify Attorney Fannick from representing Harlow Cuadra.

DA Wants Handwriting Samples from Homicide Suspects

The Times Leader is reporting that Luzerne County prosecutors want a judge to force homicide suspects Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes to give them samples of their handwriting.

The prosecutors say they need the samples to compare them to documents the FBI found relative to the Bryan Kocis homicide.

Prosecutors believe the documents were authored by Cuadra and Kerekes, but need the samples to compare.

"The documents indicate that both defendants had written the letters which contain material information relative to the ... case," prosecutors wrote in their request.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. will rule on the request

Monday, February 25, 2008

Judge Denies Motion to Compel

02/25/2008 Order of Court filed. Motion to Compel DENIED Olszewski, Peter Paul Jr.

To the best of my knowledge... Judge Peter Paul Olszewski has denied the motion filed by Joseph Kerekes' attorneys to compel the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's response to the Defendant's request for a Bill of Particulars. I'll try to have a more exact answer shortly, as I could be wrong as to which motion.

Update @ 3:39 PM: I am correct as to the particular motion that was denied. Also, Kerekes has waived his right to a speedy trial.

Update @ 4:40 PM: The Commonwealth's Answer To Defendant Kerekes' Motion To Compel Bill Of Particulars... I'm posting a copy of the acutal documents, as I think I've typed enough lately :)

Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9

Update @ 5:50 PM: The Times Leader picks up on the story:

Luzerne County prosecutors do not have to reveal prior to trial whether they believe homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes was the principal killer of Bryan Kocis or just an accomplice.

Kerekes’ attorneys asked a judge to force prosecutors to reveal their theory because the attorneys believed it is legal to only seek the death penalty for a principal killer, not an accomplice.

If prosecutors don’t believe Kerekes is the principal killer, the attorneys indicated they could ask that prosecutors be barred from seeking the death penalty for Kerekes.

But Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. on Monday ruled against the attorneys, saying prosecutors do not have to reveal their theory.

Prosecutors are seeking the penalty for Kerekes and Harlow Cuadra in the Jan. 24, 2007, slaying of Kocis.

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.

Kerekes and Cuadra are awaiting trial on homicide and other charges.

As part of a pre-trial request, Kerekes’ attorneys asked for the prosecutors to reveal whether they thought Kerekes was the principal killer or accomplice.

But prosecutors said evidence in the case “fully suggests” both suspects could be principals in the case. They also said they did not have to reveal that theory prior to trial, but even if Kerekes was just an accomplice, they could still seek the death penalty for him if he helped commit the slaying.

Update @ 6:34 PM: The Citizen's Voice also carries the story.

Witness Testimony At The Preliminary Hearing (Day 2)

On day two of the preliminary hearing for the Defendants, August 27, 2007, the first witness to testify on behalf of the Commonwealth, Grant Roy, positively identified both Defendants. Grant Roy testified in depth about his interaction with the Defendants on Saturday April 28, 2007 at Black's Beach, San Diego, California. This conversation involving Grant Roy, Sean Lockhart, Harlow Cuadra, and Joseph Kerekes was intercepted by a wire.

At the preliminary hearing, Grant Roy testified that Harlow Cuadra described that he was inside Kocis' home on the night of the murder. Cuadra had admitted that he was at the victim's home on the night of the murder "under the guidance or posed to be a model for Bryan Kocis" and prior to Cuadra's arrival at the home, "he and Kerekes had done recon on the house." Cuadra described that Kocis' "front door had two panes of glass that were in the upper portion of the front door, the very upper portion of the front door. And they also made the observation [that] there was no peephole in the front door so the only way Bryan could see who was at the front door was to actually open the front door." Cuadra also described the victim's 65-inch plasma Sony TV and twenty thousand dollar sound system, as well as, "an upstairs bedroom... I think it was a refinished or finished attic with a concave ceiling, and a twin or a small full-size bed".

Cuadra described how the homicide occurred. He stated that he controlled the pouring of alcohol on the bottle of wine that he and the victim were sharing so that the victim drank a majority of the bottle. "He said the doorbell had rang, and at the time Bryan got up, stumbled to the door, and that was it. He said it went quick and [the victim] never saw it coming." Roy futher testified that the motive behind the homicide was money. "It's all about making a buck."

Grant Roy also testified that Cuadra and Kerekes admitted that after the murder, they took three computer towers, two laptops, 2257 business forms, other Cobra Video business records, master tapes and DVD's, business equipment and a Rolex watch with the initial BCK on the back of it from the Kocis residence. Cuadra said there came a time when he and Kerekes incinerated the stolen property because "it was too hot". Cuadra admitted that he and Kerekes viewed the master tapes they had taken from Kocis at their Virginia Beach home. Cuadra was going to give a tape to Sean Lockhart as a gift but did not want to connect himself to the murder, so they incinerated the tapes, as well as, the 2257's and the Rolex watch.

Grant Roy also testified to statements that the Defendant Joseph Kerekes made on April 28, 2007. Kerekes admitted seeing the victim's 65-inch TV and his Maserati in the garage. Roy testified that the Defendant Kerekes indicated that he was in the Kocis home on Wednesday January 24, 2007 and that Kerekes described both the first and second floor of the house. Kerekes also made mention of the stolen property and the destruction of it. Finally, there came a time when the Defendants became more at ease. "They felt that because of the nature of the individual, Mr. Kocis, that he was gay, that the Dallas Police Department and the State of Pennsylvania had put it on the back burner, they weren't really concerned, the went on vacation."

Trooper Brian Murphy from the Pennsylvania State Police Computer Crimes Unit testified at length to his part in the investigation. He obtained computer information about the victim using his website and email addresses, as well as, the webmaster for the victim's website to trace emails sent to the victim. This was due in large part to the information received that a prospective model scheduled to meet the victim on the night of the murder had emailed photos of himself to the victim. There were also "two model applications sent in by an individual indentifying himself as Danny Moilin with an associated email address of"

Trooper Murphy described that an IP address gives us a specific geographical site. "It gives us a specific Internet connection location. There's over four billion possible IP addresses, and no two IP addresses can be connected to the Internet at the same time." He was also able to determine that the model application that was completed and submitted on the victim's website came from an IP address registered to Harlow Cuadra at 1028 Stratem Court, Virginia Beach Virginia. Trooper Murphy also testified to a chain of email correspondences between the victim and the email account. Each of the emails originating from the dmbottompa email account were associated with IP addresses registered to Harlow Cuadra at the 1028 Stratem Court, Virginia Beach, VA address and/or Sprint Nextel Wireless air card registered to Cuadra. Attached to several of the emails were pictures of Harlow Cuadra, who was operating under the ruse that he was "Danny Moilin" who was interested in becoming a model for the victim. The last email confirmed a meeting time between the victim and Cuadra aka Danny Moilin of between 7-8 p.m. on January 24, 2007.

Also, Trooper Murphy testified that he determined that on January 20, 2007, that USA People Search was contacted and a background investigation on the victim, Bryan Kocis was ordered from an IP address associated with Harlow Cuadra at 1028 Stratem Court. The purchase was made on a credit card registered to Harlow Cuadra. This was four days prior to the homicide.

Corporal Leo Hannon of the Pennsylvania State Police was the last witness to testify during the two day preliminary hearing of the Defendants. Cpl. Hannon first testified that he obtained the cell phone records of the Defendant Joseph Kerekes. In reviewing the records of Kerekes' multiple cell phones, it was determined that one cell phone registered to Kerekes placed a call to another cell phone registered to Kerekes at 8:34 p.m. January 24, 2007. The signal from this call bounced off a cell tower located at Country Club Road, Dallas, Pennsylvania which can be seen from the Kocis residence. The fire at the Kocis residence was called in at approximately the same time as Kerekes' cell phone signal bounced off the aforementioned tower.

Next, Cpl. Hannon testified that he contacted the Enterprise Rental Agency on Virginia Beach Boulevard, Virginia Beach. He was able to obtain a rental agreement showing that Harlow Cuadra rented a silver Nissan XTerra on January 23, 2007 and returned the vehicle on January 25, 2007. Cpl. Hannon also analyzed the mileage parameters. It was determined that the roundtrip from Virginia Beach, VA to Dallas, Pennsylvania and back was approximately 770-900 miles depending upon which route was taken. The vehicle could clearly have made the roundtrip.

Next, Cpl. Hannon testified that he had obtained information from Superior Pawn Shop in Virginia Beach, Virginia related to the Defendants. It was determined that the Defendants had purchased weapons with which the Kocis homicide could have been carried out on January 23, 2007. During Cpl. Hannon's testimony a surveillance video from the Superior Pawn Shop from the morning of January 23, 2007 was shown. The video showed, and Cpl. Hannon identified, the Defendants making purchases. Cpl. Hannon then testified to a receipt that he obtained from Superior Pawn Shop for the purchases made by the Defendants. They purchased a Smith & Wesson revolver, ammunition for that firearm and a Sig Arms Model No. FX18G folding knife which had approximately a 5" blade.

Cpl. Hannon also testified to obtaining information on a Trac Phone which was purchased, activated and only utilized to contact the victim. The only calls took place from January 22, 2007 up and until the victim's death. Also, particular phone calls placed from the Trac Phone occured in conjunction with emails between dmbottompa or Danny Moilin email account and the victim's email account. For example, through email correspondence a time was scheduled for "Danny Moilin" to contact the victim. The victim's phone records show that the scheduled phone call came in from the Trac Phone.

Next, Cpl. Hannon was responsible for transporting the Defendant Kerekes back to Pennsylvania after he waived extradition. During that trip, they took the Chesapeake Bay route; route 13 through Delaware, Maryland and subsequently through routes 95 and 476. While they were commencing this trip, Kerekes asked Cpl. Hannon why they "weren't taking the Route 264 West route, as he had taken that route prior to when he had made trips to Pennsylvania."

Cpl. Hannon also testified to his interview with Grant Roy following the encounter on Black's Beach between Roy, Lockhart, Cuadra and Kerekes on April 28, 2007. The Defendants made admissions to Grant Roy about several things, but in particular, they had information "regarding the architecture and contents of the victim's residence, as it related to an entertainment system, plasma TV... that were found in the residence." Also, Cpl. Hannon was able to confirm that "information regarding the victim's watch having been stolen" or information regarding the ingestion of alcohol had not been reported to the public, yet the Defendants were aware of those pieces of evidence.

Finally, Cpl. Hannon testified about the execution of a search warrant upon the Defendants' Virginia Beach residence which was conducted by the Virginia Beach Police Department in conjunction with the PA State Police Investigative Task Force. At that time, the police seized two video recorders which had matched the description previously given by witnesses Michael Kocis and Robert Wagner identified as being missing from Bryan Kocis' residence after his death. The serial numbers on the cameras had been obliterated. The F.B.I. Analyst George Skaluga who will testify at trial and whose anticipated testimony was summerized by Cpl. Hannon, opined that sample film taken through the seized camera is consistent with known video films taken by the victim Kocis.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Witness Testimony At The Preliminary Hearing (Day 1)

Though the Preliminary Hearing happened several months ago, we never really got a good look as to what was said during testimony. The newspapers only offered snippets, and Harlow's blog obmitted some information.

Since these same witnesses will be testifying at the trial(s) (when ever that happens), I thought it would be good to post a summary of what was said and add a permalink to it on the right-hand side under "Useful Trial Resources". You'll certainly notice lots of previously known information, but I think you'll easily find some 'new' stuff too.

The following witnesses testified as to the aforementioned offense at the preliminary hearing against Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes: Luzerne County Deputy Coroner William Lisman, Luzerne County Coroner Dr. John Consalvo, Justin Hensley, Thakor Patel, James Gilbert, Amy Zamerowski, Dallas Township Fire Department Chief Harry Vivian, Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall Ronald Jarocha, Thomas Baker, Michael Kocis, Robert Wagner, Grant Roy, Pennsylvania State Trooper Brian Murphy, and Cpl. Leo Hannon. A summary of the witness' testimony taken from the transcripts follows:

Deputy Coroner William Lisman testified that he recieved a telephone call from the 911 Communication Center on the evening in question to respond to Midland Drive in Dallas, PA. He further testified that he was asked to examine a body that was badly burned and which was later identified as the deceased Bryan Kocis. Mr. Lisman further described a frothy, bubbly are of fluid common to fire victims due to super heating of the fluid in the body, however, in Mr. Kocis' case, the frothy, bubbly fluid was occuring around his neck. Mr. Lisman also testified that upon a closer view of the deceased, he viewed what he believed to be stab wounds on the victim's chest and a laceration to the victim's neck.

Mr. Lisman further testified that the body was badly burned and it was not readily identifiable. He stated that at the autopsy on January 25, 2007, the body was identified through the use of dental records obtained by Kocis' family members.

Dr. John Consalvo testified that he attended the autopsy of the victim which was performed by Dr. Mary Pascucci. He stated that "the cause of death was a new decapitating wound to the neck. And the manner of death was homicide." Dr. Cansalvo also described the condition of the victim's body. He described second degree burns on the victim's back, as well as, third degree burning on his legs; his hands and arm were burned and his fingertips were completely burned. Fragments of cloth were burned to his skin. He further indicated that the victim's genitals were charred and there was a stab wound to the left side of the groin area.

Dr. Consalvo also testified that the victim's windpipe was completely severed as was his esophagus. Furthermore, the victim's carotid artery, one of the main arteries from the heart to the brain, was severed. This was determined to be the probably cause of death. There was also testimony as to 28-29 postmortem stab wounds to the victim. It was also determined that at the time the fire started the victim was not alive. Eighty percent of the body had third degree burns rendering the autopsy more difficult to complete.

At the preliminary hearing, Justin Hensley testified to his personal knowledge of the Defendent's business endeavors, namely their escort service and pornographic video production and website. Hensley also testified that both Defendents made statements in his presence that Cobra Video, which was owned and operated by the victim Bryan Kocis, "was one of the big competitions because of its success through the Internet, especially for the gay pornographic world... yes, it was a big rival, you know. It was, in their way, of becoming bigger." Furthermore, Hensley testified that he had heard about Sean Lockhart a.k.a. Brent Corrigan, from the Defendents in January of 2007. He stated that "[the Defendents] wanted [Sean Lockhart] to work for them because that would definitely help boost profit for the company if they had a star like that working for them." "They wanted to try and recruit him to their side, to the Boybatter name so it could help, you know, with the business", and in terms of money, they were looking to make "as much as possible". However, "Mr. Lockhart... had a contract through Cobra, so the only thing standing in their way was Mr. Kocis", because "nobody would, in that kind of industry with that money and everything, especially if he was under contract. They just wouldn't let him go like that to work with somebody else."

Justin Hensley also testified to the Defendants' extravagant tastes in, among other things, watches. More specifically, Hensley stated that "they had a nice collection of really high end watches as in Rolex, Omega." The relavance of this is that Bryan Kocis' Rolex watch, which further testimony will show he rarely took off his wrist, was reportedly missing after the murder. Finally, Hensley testified that the Defendants were acting differently after the death of Kocis and it seemed like Harlow Cuadra was acting "kind of like sketchy, like he was trying to push away from answering questions" regarding the Defendants' involvement in the homicide.

Thakor Patel testified that he is the owner/manager of the Fox Ridge Inn in Plains Township. He stated that on January 23, 2007, Joe Kerekes checked-in for two nights and the room was registered for two people. Kerekes was required to show photo identification at the time of check-in and registered that the vehicle he arrived in was gray in color. Kerekes, on the check-in slip, noted that he was from Virginia and originally started to provide an address of "1028 Str" before crossing it out and giving a different address. Finally, Mr. Patel noted that the hotel does not have Internet access and that if someone wanted to access the Internet, they would have to use their own wireless Internet. Mr. Patel documented Mr. Kerekes' VA Drivers License NO. XXXXXXXXX. Later, Cpl. Hannon noted this was in fact Kerekes' Virginia Drivers License.

Next, James Gilbert testified that he resides on Midland Drive in Dallas and was a neighbor of Bryan Kocis. He stated that he walked his dog on Midland Drive, including past the Kocis home, between approximately 7:35 to 7:50 p.m. on January 24, 2007. He further stated that at the time, he noticed a silver SUV in Kocis' driveway up towards the garage. He found this somewhat peculiar because vehicles didn't usually park in the driveway of the Kocis home; they typically parked in a spot in front of the home. Gilbert was shown Exhibit No. 12, which was a photo of a silver Nissan XTerra that Defendant Harlow Cuadra rented. The witness positively identified Exhibit No. 12 as the make and type of vehicle that he had seen on the evening of Wednesday, January 24, 2007 in the Kocis driveway. Gilbert recalled seeing flames coming from the Kocis residence at approximately 8:15-8:30 p.m. that evening.

Next, Amy Zamerowski testified that on the evening of January 24, 2007, she was going to pick up her friend Amy Withers at 64 Midland Drive, Dallas, right next door to the Kocis residence. She recalls that she turned onto Midland Drive at precisely 8:26 p.m. When she pulled into the Withers' driveway, there was a light colored SUV backing out of the Kocis driveway. Ms. Zamerowski was shown exhibits 13 through 25 which were photos taken by the Pennsylvania State Police of a silver Nissan XTerra. She testified that she was previously shown these photos and informed the State Police that the Nissan XTerra could have been the vehicle she had seen backing out of the Kocis driveway on the evening in question. Finally, Ms. Zamerowski testified that after seeing the vehicle leaving the Kocis driveway, she entered the Withers residence. A few moments later, someone knocked on the door warning them to get out of the house because there was a fire next door at the Kocis residence.

Next, Dallas Twp. Fire Chief Harry Vivian testified that a fire alarm came into the department for the Kocis home at 8:35 p.m. on January 24, 2007. It took the fire department approximately 20 minutes to one half hour to supress the fire and there was heavy fire damage to the front porch and the front of the house, namely the living room. It was the living room that the body of Bryan Kocis was found. Furthermore, Chief Vivian testified that when he went to the house with the State Police Fire Marshall, they found two smoke detectors which were removed from their mounts. The first floor smoke detector was placed on a table near the wall and the upstairs smoke detector was lying on the bathroom floor off the main hallway.

Trooper Ron Jarocha, Pennsylvania State Police Deputy Fire Marshall, then took the stand. He testified that, based on his knowledge, training and experience, it was his opinion that the fire was arson. He believed that "an open flame was used to ignite combustible materials which were placed behind the love seat." He opined that in the area of the love seat, "you could see a burn pattern on the floor, and the charring on the back of the [love seat]... If the fire started elsewhere in the room, this would be a protected area, and no reason for the fire to have burned underneath that area." He also noted that while removing items from the area of the love seat, the State Police "found remnants of cushioning... the foam which is inside the seats. [They] also found remnants of like a throw pillow. A small pillow that had like tassels on it. That was attached to the back of the house somewhere [near the love seat]. We also found signs of paper products, like cardboard paper. There were numerous, numerous combustible items being in the [love seat area]." He further testified in regards to the origin of fire that he "found no causes for this fire to occur between the coach - directly behind the love seat. There was nothing there to accidentally cause this fire." He also testified to finding the smoke detectors removed and placed in other locations.

Michael Kocis was the victim's father and the executor of the victim's estate. Prior to the start of his testimony, the defense attorneys stipulated that, with regards to the abuse of the corpse charge, "they would agree that Mr. Kocis would testify that the condition of this altered or destroyed corpse of his son would outrage the ordinary family sensibilities." They did, however, reserve their right to argue that it was not they who abused the corpse. He testified that his son was a quiet, private person who kept to himself. It was the normal practice for the family to call ahead before visiting the victim; they did not come to the victim's house unannounced. He also testified that there were several items of personal property that were missing from Bryan Kocis' home from the incident of January 24, 2007, namely two high-end expensive camcorders, computer towers, a Rolex watch which the younger Kocis never took off, as well as, business records such as 2257 forms. There items were reported missing to Thomas Baker, Nationwide Insurance Claim Representative who testified that the replacement value of the fire destroyed home was $208,254.00 and the total personal property loss due to the fire, as well as, items reported missing was $216,000.00.

The final witness to testify on day 1 of the preliminary hearing for the Defense was Robert Wagner, who was one of the victim's best friends. Robert Wagner described several of the items the victim used for his business including laptop computers, computer towers, and 2257 forms that were necessary in the pornography business and the locations where they were kept. Mr. Wagner also described two camcorders owned by the victim which he positively identified in a photo marked as exhibit 45. These are items that Michael Kocis had previously identified as being missing from his son's home after the incident and were included in the insurance claim submitted to Nationwide Insurance. Wagner also described Bryan Kocis' Rolex watch that he wore all the time, as well as, a flat sceen TV that the victim had just purchased at Christmastime. The Rolex watch was missing after January 24, 2007 and the TV was destroyed in the fire. Robert Wagner testified that he had seen all of these items in the victim's residence as recently as Sunday January 21, 2007.

Robert Wagner also testified that Bryan Kocis was "an intensively private person" and he did not have an open-door policy to visitors; advanced notice was required.

Finally, Robert Wagner testified that Bryan Kocis planned on meeting a new model on Wednesday January 24, 2007 between 7 and 8 p.m. Kocis informed Wagner of this via email and attached photos of the new model. The photos were attached to a file named "Danny" and Wagner testified that he recognized the photos when shown to him again. He recognized the person in the photos emailed to him by the victim as Harlow Cuadra and made an in-court identification of the Defendant. The victim was planning to meet Cuadra on the evening of his death under the aggregious assumption that was "Danny" a prospective new model.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Representation of Kocis Death Co-Defendants an Issue

The Times Leader is reporting Joseph Kerekes apparently had some concerns – at least for a while – with attorney Demetrius Fannick defending a co-defendant.

Kerekes and co-defendant Harlow Cuadra were in court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing.

It was the first court hearing for the two since Fannick was hired to defend Cuadra. But that hiring came after Fannick had been talking with Kerekes.

Kerekes appeared to take issue with the switch Wednesday. As soon as Fannick walked into court, Kerekes asked Fannick to speak with him. But Fannick couldn’t.

Kerekes yelled that he didn’t want Fannick involved in the case if he was going to use anything they had spoken about.

“Harlow won’t roll on me,” Kerekes said.

Deputy sheriffs and one of his attorneys, John Pike, later spoke with Kerekes. And he appeared calm when a judge later discussed the issue.

The outburst wasn’t the only issue created Wednesday by Fannick’s involvement in the case.

Attorneys for both suspects filed some pre-trial motions in the case. Wednesday’s hearing was to discuss two of those requests filed by Kerekes: one to have the charges thrown out for a lack of evidence and the other to make prosecutors reveal whether they think Kerekes was the principal killer.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Melnick said he needed to call an additional witness to address the lack-of-evidence issue. But because doing that would require Fannick to cross-examine the witness, Melnick wanted to wait until the judge ruled on whether Fannick will be allowed to represent Cuadra before having that hearing.

Melnick and his team of prosecutors are trying to have Fannick disqualified from the case because his past discussions with Kerekes create a conflict of interest, they said.

Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. said he will first decide that issue before ruling on the evidence issue.

Fannick has to file a response to Melnick’s motion by Feb. 29. The judge also wants Kerekes’ attorneys to determine if an actual or potential conflict exists with Fannick’s representation of Cuadra, whether Kerekes can waive that conflict, and, if he can, will he waive it. That, too, has to be filed by Feb. 29. A hearing on the issue is set for 8:30 a.m. March 5.

Olszewski also said he will issue a ruling on whether prosecutors have to reveal if Kerekes was the principal killer soon.


Meanwhile, the Citizen's Voice also covers the story and adds:

Kerekes’ attorneys argued in prior motions prosecutors must say whether they believe their client is just an accomplice in the murder. If he was just an accomplice, prosecutors cannot pursue the death penalty, Kerekes’ conflict counsel John Pike, Mark Bufalino and Shelly Centini said.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Melnick said the commonwealth would be “in a box” if it disclosed one theory about the murder at this stage and it turned out to be incorrect.

“That has had catastrophic impact” on prosecution cases in the past, he said.

Olszewski wouldn’t allow Cuadra’s former attorneys to step down until the issue over potential conflict with Fannick is resolved. Fannick took over as Cuadra’s counsel Jan. 28 for conflict counsel Stephen Menn, Michael Senape and Paul Galante.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Keeping Track... Motions Filed (Redux)

If Judge Peter Paul Olszewski didn't already have a enough on his plate for this upcoming status conference on 02/20/08... this past week certainly piled on a bit more for him to digest. Here's what's been filed to date, and still awaiting a ruling from the judge (needless to say the upcoming hearing on Wednesday should be interesting and enlightening):

Joseph Kerekes' attorneys have filed the following requests:
  1. Move the trial out of Luzerne County.
  2. Have a separate trial for Kerekes and co-defendant Harlow Cuadra.
  3. 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.
  4. Keep any past criminal record of Kerekes out of trial.
  5. Prosecutors need to indicate whether they believe Kerekes was the principal killer, accomplice, or co-conspirator.
  6. All the charges tossed out and Kerekes released from prison.
  7. Wants the judge to sanction prosecutors by prohibiting them from "introducing evidence of any alibi rebuttal witness" or have them properly comply with he state's rules on the issue.
  8. A copy of statements the 385 witnesses gave to prosecutors.
Meanwhile, Harlow Cuadra's attorney(s) filed (There's been several now):
  1. Harlow be transferred from the Lackawanna County prison to Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
  2. Fannick be given more time to file pre-trial motions.
  3. A deadline set for prosecutors to turn over all materials Fannick is entitled to see.
  4. Fannick wants all statements made by witnesses to the prosecution turned over to him.
  5. Request to keep Harlow at the Lackawanna County prison.

... and the Prosecution has filed the following motions:

  1. To amend the wording in criminal conspiracy to commit arson charges filed against both men.
  2. Fannick should be disqualified from the case.

As you can see it's been a busy little time... if I did happen to miss anything, please let me know and I'll be happy to add it to this ever-growing list.

It's unlikely the judge is going to rule on all of these motions Wednesday, but we should be able to get this list reduced a bit by then (hopefully).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kerekes' Attorneys: DA Shouldn't be Allowed to use Alibi Witnesses

The Times Leader is reporting that Prosecutors should not be allowed to call any of their 385 witnesses to rebut homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes' possible alibi defense, his attorneys say.

The attorneys want those sanctions put on prosecutors because the prosecutors identified rebuttal witnesses who have not been told they might testify in such a capacity, court papers say.

The dispute started once Kerekes' attorneys, John Pike, Mark Bufalino, and Shelley Centini, filed court papers indicating they might present an alibi witness at trial. That alibi might show that Kerekes was inside a Plains Township hotel when Bryan Kocis was being killed inside his Dallas Township home.

Prosecutors responded by revealing that they had 385 prospective witnesses to call and rebut that alibi.

But in the court papers filed Thursday by Kerekes' attorneys, some of those witnesses had no knowledge of being a witness in that capacity.

One of those witnesses was attorney David Lipka. Two other witnesses were Kerekes' parents, Fred and Rosalie. Kerekes' attorneys said they contacted those individuals. They said they "had no knowledge" of being a alibi rebuttal witness.

That, Kerekes' attorneys say, shows prosecutors acted in "bad faith" and outside state rule's applying to the alibi witness rebuttal.

Now, Kerekes' attorneys want Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. to sanction prosecutors by prohibiting them from "introducing evidence of any alibi rebuttal witness" or have them properly comply with he state's rules on the issue. The attorneys also want statements the 385 witnesses gave to prosecutors.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Just Called... to Say I Love You?

As I initially reported here today... Harlow Cuadra, Joseph Kerekes, and "Renee" apparently had a plan in place to communicate with each other as early as August 10, 2007.

Here's the original tip I was given back in August:

"Is Renee from Texas, possibly El Paso, or is she from Virginia Beach. I heard from a source that she's arranging Harlow and Joseph talk to one another by three way phone. They'll both call her at a specific time."

That 'source' later turned out to be a family member of one of the accussed.

While I immediatly reported this information to the DA's office in Luzerne County, I waited for as long as I could before announcing this on my blog... with the hopes that the prosecution was able to monitor these calls.

If these calls actually did take place... it could be evidence of furtherance of the conspiracy charges if Harlow and Joe talked about the murder at all.

Contrary to what most would think... phone calls made from Luzerne and Lackawanna County Prisons are not normally recorded.

Cuadra Attorney Wants Reports from 385 Witnesses

According to the Times Leader, the attorney for homicide suspect Harlow Cuadra wants prosecutors to reveal the reports or statements they got from all of the 385 witnesses they might call to testify at trial.

Luzerne County prosecutors earlier this week released the list of witnesses. They did that after attorneys for Cuadra’s co-defendant, Joseph Kerekes, indicated they might present an alibi defense.

Kerekes’ attorneys said they have five witnesses they might call to say Kerekes was inside a Plains Township hotel when Byran Kocis was being killed inside his Dallas Township home.

The prosecutors later said they had the 385 prospective witnesses to rebut that claim.

On Wednesday, Cuadra’s attorney, Demetrius Fannick, filed court papers saying he believes prosecutors must have interviewed or obtained a report from all of those witnesses.

And he should be allowed to see all of them, he said. But prosecutors, he said, have not provided him statements from a majority of those witnesses. He wants them to turn those statements over to him.

Fannick on Wednesday also filed court papers asking for more time to file pre-trial motions. He also wants a deadline set for prosecutors to turn over all materials he is entitled to see.

Co-Defendant’s Fair Trial Rights May be Hindered, Prosecution Says

Update @ 6:15 AM - The Citizen's Voice also covers the story, with much of the same news, with a few new bits of information: The prosecution’s motion outlines a scenario where the potential conflict could arise during the death penalty phase of the case. If both are convicted, “Kerekes and Cuadra may point the finger at one another as to who slit the victim’s throat,” prosecutors argue.

Kerekes, 34, would waive any potential conflict, Fannick said in a Jan. 29 article in The Citizens’ Voice. But in Tuesday’ motion, prosecutors said the court has an obligation to review the issue.

Kerekes’ alibi will be rebutted.

Also among the potential witnesses prosecutors have identified to rebut Kerekes’ alibi defense include local firefighters, police officers, as well as record holders for several phone and bank companies. Prosecutors also list several reporters for national and local media outlets, including The Boston Globe newspaper, MTV and Rolling Stone magazine.

In an update to yesterday's story, the Times Leader is reporting that Luzerne County prosecutors say attorney Demetrius Fannick should not be allowed to represent homicide suspect Harlow Cuadra.

Fannick should be disqualified from the case, the prosecutors say, because he had met with Cuadra’s co-defendant, Joseph Kerekes, eight times before becoming Cuadra’s attorney. Those meetings, the prosecutors say, create a conflict of interest that could hamper Kerekes’ right to a fair trial.

But Fannick said there is no conflict. And he thinks there’s an “ulterior motive” behind the prosecution’s request.

“I simply think they’re raising it because I kicked their ass in the last homicide case I did,” said Fannick, who successfully defended Hugo Selenski on two homicide charges in 2006. “I think the DA is just doing it out of spite.”

The exchange between the parties started Tuesday morning, when District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll and a team of assistants filed court papers asking Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. to remove Fannick from the case.

Both have been represented by public attorneys outside the public defender’s office. But Fannick in November announced to the press he had met with Kerekes, discussed the case with him and might represent him, the prosecution’s court papers said.

Those court papers said Fannick met with Kerekes eight times between Oct. 26 and Jan. 11. Then, on Jan. 28, Fannick filed court papers indicating he would be representing Cuadra.

“Fannick’s office should not represent (Cuadra) because of the conflict of his having met and discussed the case with (Kerekes),” the prosecutors said.

But Fannick doesn’t think prosecutors should be sticking their noses into the issue. If a conflict truly existed, Kerekes and his defense team, not prosecutors, should be asking for Fannick’s removal. They have not made such a request.

“Quite frankly, I don’t see where the DA even has standing to raise it,” Fannick said. “I don’t think the DA should be arresting people and then decide who their lawyer is going to be.”

Fannick said he never discussed anything with Kerekes during the meetings that would create a conflict.

“No details about the offenses or possible defense were discussed during those meetings,” he said.

Fannick said Cuadra has a “right to hire a lawyer of his choosing.” If Fannick saw a conflict with defending Cuadra, he would not have gotten involved, he said.

Even if there was a conflict, Kerekes would waive it and clear the way for Fannick to stay on board, Fannick said.

But the prosecutors claim a judge “has an independent obligation … to ensure such waivers are valid.”

They also think the “unprecedented shuttling between co-defendants is a ploy in order to create a spurious reason and argument for severance.”

Fannick said the prosecutors should be “spending their time preparing their case rather than” worrying about who is going to represent the defendants. And the prosecution’s claim that they are merely trying to avoid any possible appeals issues is a farce, he said.

“That’s just a bunch of crap,” he said.

Also Tuesday, Fannick filed court papers asking for Cuadra to remain jailed at the Lackawanna County Prison. Cuadra’s past attorneys had asked Cuadra be transferred from there to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.

But Fannick on Tuesday said he wants Cuadra to stay in Lackawanna because he is in the general population rather than isolated, has a job, and prison officials have been accommodating to him and Fannick.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fannick Says DA Wants Him Off Case Out of Spite

According to the Times Leader... Attorney Demetrius Fannick on Tuesday said prosecutors have an "ulterior motive" for trying to get him removed from defending homicide suspect Harlow Cuadra.

“I simply think they’re raising it because I kicked their ass in the last homicide case I did,” said Fannick, who successfully defended Hugo Selenski on two homicide charges in 2006.

Fannick made the comments in response to a request made earlier Tuesday by Luzerne County prosecutors. The prosecutors said Fannick should be removed from defending Cuadra because Fannick had previously met and spoke with Cuadra's co-defendant, Joseph Kerekes.

The prosecutors say those past meetings with Kerekes create a conflict of interest and could hamper Kerekes' right to a fair trial.

Fannick disagrees. He said if a conflict truly existed, Kerekes and his attorneys, not prosecutors, would be asking for Fannick's removal. Fannick said Cuadra has a "right to hire a lawyer of his choosing."

“I don’t think the DA should be arresting people and then decide who their lawyer is going to be," Fannick said. "I think the DA is just doing it out of spite.”

DA Wants Fannick Removed from Homicide Case

Demetrius Fannick

The Times Leader is reporting that Luzerne County prosecutors say attorney Demetrius Fannick should not be allowed to represent homicide suspect Harlow Cuadra.

Fannick should be disqualified from the case, the prosecutors say, because he had met with Cuadra's co-defendant, Joseph Kerekes, eight times before becoming Cuadra's attorney.

The prosecutors say those meetings with Kerekes create a conflict of interest that could hamper Kerekes' right to a fair trial. The prosecutors want a judge to remove Fannick from representing Cuadra.

Court papers say Fannick met with Kerekes eight times between Oct. 26 and Jan. 11. He also publicly stated he met with Kerekes, discussed the case and might represent Kerekes, the court papers say. Then, on Jan. 28, Fannick filed court papers indicating he will represent Cuadra.

Fannick could immediately be reached for comment Tuesday morning.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Prosecutors Have 385 Witnesses to Rebut Kerekes' Alibi Claim

Update (02-12-08 @ 6:07 AM): According to the Times Leader, Kerekes’ attorneys later filed court papers indicating Kerekes might present a defense that shows he was inside room 211 of the Fox Ridge Hotel on Route 315 at the time of the slaying.

On Monday, Assistant District Attorney Michael Melnick filed his response to those court papers. The list of witnesses included police, firefighters, reporters and others.

The Times Leader is reporting that Luzerne County prosecutors say they have 385 “prospective witnesses” they might call to rebut the possible alibi defense of homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes.

The prosecutors made the revelation in court papers filed Monday in response to Kerekes' alibi claim.

Last month, Kerekes’ attorneys filed a notice indicating Kerekes might call five witnesses to show Kerekes was at a Plains Township motel at the time Bryan Kocis was being killed miles away inside his Dallas Township home.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Past Criminal Record of Harlow Cuadra

Since it wouldn't be fair to leave the 'other-half ' out of this revelation, and with little doubt that Fannick will also file the same motion to keep any past criminal record out of trial... I offer you the same for Harlow Raymond Cuadra... needless to say, it's really not any more exciting than Joseph Kerekes'.

Norfolk, VA:

GC04013678-00 CUADRA, HARLOW RAYMOND; 6 MASSAGE BODY OF SAME Misdemeanor 09/28/04 Nolle Prosequi

GC04013689-00 CUADRA, HARLOW RAYMOND; 6 NO CITY BUSINESS LIC Misdemeanor 09/28/04 Nolle Prosequi

Virginia Beach, VA:

GT07004359-00 CUADRA, HARLOW RAYMOND 03/21/07 11:00AM Prepaid Charge: TINTED OR SMOKED WIN Complainant: PATTERSON, C N

GT02031708-00 CUADRA, HARLOW SPD 72/55 Infraction 06/27/02 Prepaid

GT03028820-00 CUADRA, HARLOW RAYMOND DIZSR RED LGHT Infraction 06/25/03 Prepaid

CL07005154-00 CUADRA, HARLOW R Plaintiff: CHASE BANK USA N A*

I also checked records for Miami/Dade County, Las Vegas/Clark County, Tampa/Hillsborough County, and Great Lakes/Lake County for any past criminal charges... nothing was found.

* The Chase Bank lawsuit is a current civil matter, and not criminal.

Isn't It Ironic...

Back on July 18, 2007... Joseph Kerekes places Harlow Cuadra at the scene of the murder of Bryan Kocis, during his talkative interview with Ed Lewis at the local Times Leader. Yet to date... the folks defending Harlow Cuadra's innocence seem to either label this 'little' story as a lie, or simply want to forget about Joe completley. Guess the question is... who's lying now... and why?

Afterall... wasn't it Harlow Cuadra himself that originaly stated to the press that he didn't even know "Bryan Kocis personally"... yet goes on to provide information about the house, discusses drinking wine with Bryan, taking Bryan's property, etc... all during his Blacks Beach visit with Brent Corrigan, Grant Roy, and lover Joe while in San Diego?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Past Criminal Record of Joseph Kerekes...

Joseph Manuel Kerekes

One of the motions filed recently by Joseph Kerekes' attorneys is the request to keep any past criminal record of Kerekes out of trial. While the request is procedural, and generally done in all such cases... with the exception of one misdemeanor driving charge, all of the other 'crimes' Joe has commited seem to be simple traffic infractions. Though he's hardly been the poster child for safe driving, I fail to see why Kerekes' prior criminal record would really be of any use to the prosecution and/or jury anyway:

Chesapeake, VA:

GT02047941-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M RECKLESS DRIVING 80/55 Misdemeanor 10/10/02 Guilty
GT98033912-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M SPD 37/25 Infraction 08/14/98 Prepaid

Norfolk, VA:

GT02020837-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M SPEEDING 48/30 RDR Infraction 05/17/02 Prepaid
GT02020838-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M NO SEAT BELT Infraction 05/17/02 Prepaid

Virginia Beach, VA:

GT06082915-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M TINTED OR SMOKED WIN Infraction 01/29/07 Prepaid
GT03070281-00 KEREKES, JOESPH M IMPROPER EQUIP Infraction 01/12/04 Guilty
GT98073934-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH SPD 50/35 Infraction 11/04/98 Prepaid
GT02073868-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M 50/35 SP Infraction 01/08/03 Prepaid
GT98027810-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M NO DECAL Infraction 05/18/98 Dismissed
GT98043396-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M NOISE Other 07/27/98 Prepaid
GT98043397-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M CRUISING Infraction 07/27/98 Prepaid
GT05072598-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M OPER UNINSPECTED VEH Infraction 01/05/06 Prepaid
GT98065233-00 KEREKES, JOSEPH M DEF EQUIP Infraction 11/02/98 Prepaid
GT98039875-00 KEREKES, JOSPEH M DIS HWY SIGN Infraction 06/26/98 Prepaid

I also checked Miami/Dade County, Las Vegas/Clark County, and every County in PA for any past criminal charges, and found nothing.

You would almost think the defense would actually want his past criminal record shown, as he clearly hasn't been charged with any prior violent crimes... or perhaps I simply missed something.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New Trial Date(s)?

Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes

While we await the next status conference for Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes... (still currently scheduled for February 20, 2008)... one question that I've received several times is: 'will the judge issue a new trial date during this hearing?'

My best-guess is that it's highly doubtful any trial date(s) will be announced until the judge rules on the severance issue... and there's still no guarantee that he'll even rule on that issue during this upcoming hearing. As I had mentioned earlier... it's quite likely Harlow and Joe will be given separate trials... the question is when?

Once I know the official answer... so will you.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Harlow and Joe's Weekly Docket Round-Up

As usual, I'm posting a complete listing of docket updates for Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes that ocurred during the past week...

Harlow Cuadra:

1. 01/28/2008 Entry of Appearance by Fannick, Demetrius Wm.
2. 01/28/2008 Entry of Appearance- Atty Tim Fannick by Cometa, Thomas S.
3. 01/29/2008 Order of Court filed. Transport for Hearing on 2-20-08 by Olszewski, Peter Paul Jr.
4. 01/29/2008 Order of Court filed. Hearing on 1-30-08 continued to 2-20-08 by Olszewski, Peter Paul Jr.

Joseph Kerekes:

1. 01/29/2008 Order of Court filed. Hearing on 1-30-08 continued to 2-20-08 by Olszewski, Peter Paul Jr.
2. 01/30/2008 Def's Omnibus Pre-Trial Motion filed by Bufalino, Mark William.
3. 01/30/2008 Notice of Possible Alibi Defense filed by Bufalino, Mark William.

Meanwhile, I'm planning to post the Black's Beach Tape transcripts this week... the publication of such has been a bit more delayed than I wanted it to be, but as the old saying goes... good things come to those that wait. (Besides, 108 pages takes a bit of time to digest, not to mention having to re-transribe it all into blog capable reading).

Go Giants! ... enjoy the Super Bowl.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Letter of Encouragement... or Desperation?

Apparently Rob in NC has something to say to Harlow Cuadra... as posted on the Free Harlow site:

Letter to Harlow

Personally... I think the whole thing is a fabricated/staged attempt at trying to make Harlow Cuadra look like a nice guy. Once you read the letter, I'm fairly certain that you'll agree.

Update... umm... need I say more:

Keeping Track... Motions Filed

Judge Peter Paul Olszewski certainly has quite a bit on his plate right now... and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the pre-trial motions filed. Since there have been several additions, I figured I'd keep a running score as to what's been filed to date... and still awaiting an answer:

Joseph Kerekes' attorneys have filed the following requests:

  1. Move the trial out of Luzerne County.
  2. Have a separate trial for Kerekes and co-defendant Harlow Cuadra.
  3. 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.
  4. Keep any past criminal record of Kerekes out of trial.
  5. Prosecutors need to indicate whether they believe Kerekes was the principal killer, accomplice, or co-conspirator.
  6. All the charges tossed out and Kerekes released from prison.

Meanwhile, Harlow Cuadra's attorneys filed:

  1. Harlow be transferred from the Lackawanna County prison to Luzerne County Correctional Facility.

Perhaps with Fannick at the helm now... we'll begin to see a little more activity on Cuadra's side.

... also ... the prosecution made a motion to amend the wording in criminal conspiracy to commit arson charges filed against both men.

Assuming the next hearing on 02/20/08 isn't delayed, it should make for an enlightening time.