Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kerekes Talked of Kocis Killing

The Times Leader is reporting that once he was in jail, homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes talked – a lot – according to court papers filed recently by Luzerne County prosecutors.

Complete details of what Joseph Kerekes 'talked about' can be found here and here, and here.

He told one cellmate how he and Harlow Cuadra conspired to kill a “dude” to gain the movie rights of a porn star, according to the documents.

He talked of how he and Cuadra looted the residence of Bryan Kocis after Cuadra stabbed Kocis 17 times and they both slit his throat. And how they had to burn Kocis’ house because it was “too bloody” to clean, the court papers say.

He allegedly told the inmates how he used his cell phone and computer at a Plains Township motel to ensure he had an alibi – and he planned on steering blame in the death on Cuadra.

Those papers detail the alleged statements Kerekes made to inmates after he was jailed last year in the slaying of Kocis.

Police say Kerekes, 34, and Cuadra, 26, both of Virginia, killed Kocis, their rival in the gay porn industry, inside his Dallas Township home in January 2007 then set it on fire. Kocis, 44, was found dead by firefighters.

Kerekes and Cuadra were arrested in May 2007, in Virginia, before being brought to Luzerne County.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for both suspects. They are awaiting trial.

Kerekes had filed notice that he had an alibi in the case. He claims he was miles away at the Fox Ridge Inn when Kocis was being killed.

It led to a tiff between his attorneys and prosecutors.

Prosecutors filed a response to the alibi, claiming they had 385 witnesses to rebut Kerekes’ alibi.

But Kerekes’ attorneys shot back. They said the prosecution’s bulky response was done in bad faith and not in accordance with state law because some of those witnesses had no knowledge of being a witness in that capacity.

They asked a judge to impose sanctions on prosecutors.

Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. ordered prosecutors to revamp the list. They did.

But Kerekes’ attorneys again said the list was wrongly done.

The squabble has led to Kerekes’ attorneys again asking for sanctions.

A hearing is set for Wednesday.

Prosecutors, in their latest response to the sanctions request, asked a judge to disregard Kerekes’ motion.

They said their response to the alibi is fine. And they filed numerous police reports containing Kerekes’ alleged statements to bolster their stance. The statements, prosecutors say, show Kerekes kept “shifting alibis.”

Investigators learned of the statements from interviewing some of Kerekes’ jailhouse acquaintances.

According to those court papers filed late Friday:

One of those inmates was Robert Tolley, 39, who was jailed with Kerekes in the Virginia Beach Correctional Facility. Tolley in July told police Kerekes admitted to killing “some guy in Pennsylvania.”

That same month, police interviewed John Riggs in Virginia. Riggs, 25, said Kerekes spoke of how he and Cuadra had to make Kocis “disappear” in order to get the rights of a porn actor who was under contract with Kocis. Kerekes said he traveled to Kocis’ home with Cuadra but stayed in the vehicle. But then Cuadra called Kerekes for assistance. Kocis was already dead and the two were trying to clean up the home. They moved Kocis’ body in front of a “big screen TV,” then stole numerous items from the home before burning it. But Kerekes also said he and Cuadra both slit Kocis’ throat.

In October, police interviewed Robert Rodden, 42, at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Rodden said Kerekes told Rodden he bought a knife in Virginia before traveling to Pennsylvania. Then he bought wine and another knife before lodging at the Fox Ridge Inn. There, he “made several phone calls” and used his computer to aid his alibi defense.

But Rodden became upset with the “heartless” manner in which Kerekes spoke of Kocis. Kerekes even laughed at Kocis, and said: “They haven’t even buried him yet. They have him frozen somewhere.”

Other times, Rodden said, Kerekes blamed Cuadra, saying: “They won’t be able to get me for murder. Harlow went out to meet the guy, and he won’t say anything … because I told him not to. I’ll get out in five years and make tons of money off of this.”

Two of Kerekes attorneys, Mark Bufalino and John Pike, said Monday they could not comment because of a court-imposed gag order.