Sunday, July 6, 2008

Kerekes Purchased Knife Hours Before Kocis was Killed

The Times Leader is reporting that homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes sought legal advice from an inmate while jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, according to an investigative report.

Kerekes, 34, told Robert Leo Rodden certain details about the slaying of adult gay film producer Bryan Kocis that were otherwise not known by the public, the report states.

According to the report, Kerekes told Rodden, 42, that he purchased a knife at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Wilkes-Barre Township. Investigators with the state police at Wyoming and Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office obtained a receipt from Wal-Mart showing that a knife had been purchased at the local store hours before Kocis, 44, was killed inside his Dallas Township home on Jan. 24, 2007.

The knife was one of four items purchased at the store, the receipt says.

Rodden, who is serving more than five years in state prison for a stabbing in Edwardsville in February 2007, is one of several people expected to testify at a pre-trial hearing before Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. on Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege in arrest records that Kerekes, and his partner, Harlow Cuadra, 26, both from Virginia Beach, Va., stabbed Kocis, their rival in the gay porn industry, and then set his Midland Drive home on fire.

Luzerne County Assistant District Attorneys Michael Melnick, Tim Doherty, Shannon Crake and William Dunn are seeking the death penalty. Jury selection is tentatively set to begin Sept. 2.

Cuadra’s attorneys, Paul Galante, Mike Senape and Steve Menn, are seeking separate trials for the two men as a result of Kerekes’ statements that implicate Cuadra in the killing, according to court records.

Kerekes maintained that he was inside a motel room at the Fox Ridge Inn in Plains Township while Cuadra, under the disguise of another name, drove to Kocis’ home, court records indicate. Cuadra attempted to set up his own alibi, according to court records, claiming he was working as a male escort and with a customer in a Virginia Beach hotel at the time Kocis was killed.

Cuadra’s lawyers are expected to ask the judge during Tuesday’s pre-trial hearing to prohibit prosecutors from using a conversation that was recorded on a nude beach near San Diego in April 2007.

There, investigators say in arrest records, Cuadra and Kerekes told Grant Roy and Sean Lockhart details about the actual killing. Roy is an adult film producer and Lockhart was a model for Kocis’ company, Cobra Video.

A day before the beach conversation was recorded, investigators also recorded a conversation the four men had at a San Diego restaurant where they discussed forming a partnership to produce pornographic movies.

Prosecutors are expected to file a transcript of the restaurant conversation in court on Monday.