Thursday, August 14, 2008

Attorneys: Kerekes’ Rights Violated

The Times Leader is reporting that attorneys for homicide suspect Joseph Kerekes believe his arrest in May 2007 violated his civil rights.

In court records filed on Wednesday by attorneys Shelley Centini and John Pike, they claim authorities in Virginia didn’t have an arrest warrant when Kerekes was taken into custody on May 15, 2007.

Kerekes, 34, and his partner, Harlow Cuadra, 27, both from Virginia Beach, were stopped and arrested by Virginia Beach authorities while driving on Virginia Beach Boulevard.

They were arrested, according to court records, shortly after investigators in Pennsylvania filed criminal homicide charges with District Judge James E. Tupper in Trucksville for the January 2007 slaying of Bryan Kocis, 44, in Dallas Township.

Centini and Pike claim that, “Virginia authorities possessed no warrant for (Kerekes’) arrest, nor did (Kerekes) commit any motor vehicle offense which would authorize a traffic stop,” according to their court filing.

After Kerekes and Cuadra were arrested, their vehicle was searched by Virginia authorities and certain items were seized, Centini and Pike said. One of the items taken from their vehicle, according to court records, was a knife. Centini and Pike are seeking to prohibit prosecutors from using evidence taken from their vehicle.

Luzerne County Assistant District Attorneys Michael Melnick, Shannon Crake and Allyson Kacmarski are seeking the death penalty for Kerekes and Cuadra. Prosecutors claim in court records that Kerekes and Cuadra killed Kocis, whom they considered their main rival in the gay pornography movie industry.

Responding to a request by Cuadra’s and Kerekes’ attorneys on Tuesday, Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. delayed the September trial until January 2009. Their attorneys requested that a third attorney be appointed to each defense team that would replace attorneys Mark Bufalino and Paul Galante, who withdrew from the case in July citing a conflict of interest.