Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Transcripts Filed in Kocis Probe

The Times Leader is reporting that adult-film producer Grant Roy was reluctant about doing business with Joseph Kerekes and Harlow Cuadra.

Kerekes told Roy he understood his anxiety, telling the producer that he couldn’t talk because he was worried Roy was wearing a wire. Shortly after making that statement, Kerekes laughed.

A transcript of the conversation that also involved Cuadra and gay porn actor Sean Lockhart was filed by prosecutors in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas on Monday.

The conversation among the four men was recorded at a restaurant called Crabcatchers outside San Diego, Calif., on April 27, 2007. Investigators with the state police at Wyoming, Dallas Township police and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office placed a recording device on Roy prior to the dinner with Cuadra and Kerekes. Roy also wore a recording device the next day when the four men visited a nude beach near San Diego.

At the time of the recordings, Cuadra, 26, and Kerekes, 34, were suspects in the January 2007 slaying of gay film producer Bryan Kocis in Dallas Township. Less than three weeks later, investigators charged the two men with Kocis’ murder.

Investigators said Cuadra and Kerekes, both from Virginia Beach, Va., made several admissions during the recorded conversations about the homicide and the way Kocis was killed, according to arrest records.

Prosecutors allege in arrest records that Cuadra and Kerekes considered Kocis their main rival in the gay porn industry. They wanted to work with Lockhart, who was under contract with Kocis’ company, Cobra Video, arrest records indicate.

Attorneys for Cuadra and Kerekes are seeking to prohibit prosecutors from using the recorded statements at trial set to begin with jury selection on Sept. 2. They will make their arguments during a pre-trial hearing today before county Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr.

According to the transcript of the conversation at the restaurant, Kerekes was pushing Roy into allowing Lockhart to work with Cuadra in several pornographic movies. Kerekes discussed ways to pay Roy and Lockhart royalty fees under the table to avoid paying Kocis’ estate.

Roy was reluctant to begin filming, telling Kerekes and Cuadra he wanted to think about their plan.

Cuadra also discussed losing his filming equipment that was seized when authorities searched their Virginia Beach home on Feb. 10, 2007.

Lockhart said the publicity surrounding Kocis’ murder “ruined” his career. Kerekes apologized to Roy and Lockhart, “for hurting you guys and messing things up; I really do, I messed up our lives too,” the transcript says.

In an attempt to settle the concerns of Roy and Lockhart, Kerekes told them, according to the transcript, that authorities in Pennsylvania, put the investigation “on the back burner.”

Prosecutors are expected to call more than two dozen witnesses, including Roy and Lockhart, during today’s pre-trial hearing.