Monday, April 28, 2008

Joseph Kerekes' Homicide Charges Stand

The Times Leader is reporting that Prosecutors have enough evidence to take Joseph Kerekes to trial on homicide charges, a judge ruled Monday.

Kerekes and Harlow Cuadra are charged in the January 2007 slaying of Bryan Kocis inside his Dallas Township home.

Kerekes' attorneys had asked for his charges to be dismissed. They said prosecutors failed to establish enough evidence at a preliminary hearing on the charges.

But Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. on Monday denied the request. Kerekes and Cuadra are scheduled to stand trial Sept. 2. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for both men.

The Citizens' Voice also reports on the story: Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. denied a petition for writ of habeas corpus in which Kerekes’ attorneys argued prosecutors lacked the evidence or probable cause required to charge Kerekes in the January 2007 killing of Bryan Kocis in Dallas Township.

Kerekes’ attorneys, Shelley Centini and John Pike, argued in the petition, filed last December, that his arrest, prosecution and pre-trial imprisonment violated his constitutional “right to be free from unreasonable seizure of the person.”

Olszewski sided with the prosecutors, Michael Melnick, Shannon Crake and William Dunn, who enumerated their disagreement on Jan. 22 in a 49-page response that included details of pre-trial testimony and evidence.

“A habeas hearing or preliminary hearing is not a trial,” the prosecutors argued. “Consequently, the Commonwealth is not required to prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt at a habeas or preliminary hearing.”