Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Attorneys for Cuadra, Kerekes Want Taped Conversation Suppressed From Trial

The Citizens' Voice is reporting that attorneys for accused killers Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes reiterated their position Monday that a potentially incriminating conversation, recorded three months after the murder, should be suppressed, along with firearms, camcorders and other evidence seized from Cuadra’s home in Virginia Beach, Va.

Stephen Menn and Michael Senape, who represent Cuadra, and Shelley Centini and John Pike, who represents Kerekes, filed joint briefs Monday, renewing claims that the recording and the evidence were both obtained illegally.

Cuadra, 26, and Kerekes, 34, both of Virginia Beach, Va., are accused of killing Bryan Kocis, 46, the owner of a rival company that produced gay pornographic films, in Dallas Township in January 2007.

They are accused of slashing Kocis’ neck to the point of near decapitation, stabbing his torso nearly 30 times and later setting fire to his Midland Drive home. They both face the death penalty.

A suppression hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday before Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. Cuadra and Kerekes are scheduled to stand trial beginning Sept. 2.

Prosecutors said prior to the murder, Cuadra and Kerekes complained Kocis had been impeding their expansion into a new genre of films.

Cuadra and Kocis had wanted to recruit actor Sean Lockhart, who appeared under the stage name “Brent Corrigan,” but Lockhart was under contract to work only for Kocis.

Cuadra and Kerekes met with Lockhart and his business partner, Grant Roy, at an awards show in Las Vegas in early January 2007 and again in San Diego in April 2007.

Roy acted as an informant during the San Diego visit, and wore a recording device as Cuadra spoke in detail about killing Kocis, prosecutors said.

The attorneys for Cuadra and Kerekes said Pennsylvania law, which requires a government attorney review the facts and meet with the informant to determine his consent is voluntary before recording takes place, applies to the conversation, even though it took place in California.

If Olszewski decides the recording is governed by California law, which allows greater leeway for electronic surveillance by law enforcement, the attorneys said, “suppression is still warranted because Grant Roy’s consent was not voluntary and the communication was intended to be confidential.”

There's also a similar story in the Times Leader.