Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kerekes Offers Possible Motive for Killing During Interview

The Citizens' Voice reports that accused killer Joseph Kerekes began to cry during a police interview hours after his arrest in May 2007, and “swore on his mother’s life that he was not the one” who killed Bryan Kocis in Dallas Township four months earlier, prosecutors said.

Kerekes’ burst of emotion, in an interview room at the Virginia Beach Police Department, came after a back and forth with investigators that included several allusions to the killing and conversations between Kerekes, co-defendant Harlow Cuadra and two men who had settled a lawsuit with Kocis a week before his death, Grant Roy and Sean Lockhart.

Kerekes volunteered information about a motive, and hinted at his possible involvement, as he denied knowledge of a telephone conversation between Cuadra and Lockhart on Jan. 25, the day after the killing. Cuadra directed Lockhart to read about Kocis’ death on, the Web site of WNEP-TV, and allegedly said, “I guess my guy went overboard.”

“Are you going to believe the words from the lips of that boy?” Kerekes said during the police interview, referring to Lockhart, who starred in gay pornographic films produced by Kocis. “It wasn’t about money, we have money.”

Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. heard testimony and arguments last Thursday on a motion by Kerekes’ attorneys, John Pike and Shelley Centini, to suppress the police interview from being used as evidence at trial.

Kerekes, 34, and Harlow Cuadra, 26, both of Virginia Beach, Va., 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 face the death penalty and are scheduled to stand trial together, beginning Sept. 2.

Olszewski also heard defense requests to suppress a myriad of evidence, including items seized from the home where Cuadra and Kerekes lived, and conversations between them, Roy and Lockhart in San Diego in April 2007. The hearing is scheduled to continue today at 9 a.m.

Kerekes testified briefly last Thursday and reiterated his attorneys’ claims that the interview should be suppressed because the investigators, Cpl. Leo Hannon of state police, and Special Agent James J. Glenn of the FBI, violated his right to an attorney.

“They walked into the room and I said, ‘I want a lawyer,’” Kerekes said during brief testimony that was limited to the post-arrest police interview. “It was the first thing out of my mouth.”