Friday, February 20, 2009

Cuadra Jury Grows to Eight

The Citizens' Voice is reporting that eight jurors have been chosen in the capital homicide trial of Harlow Cuadra, after three days of jury selection.

The 27-year-old Virginia Beach, Va., man could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree homicide in the killing of Bryan Kocis at his Dallas Township home in January 2007.

The eight jurors — four males and four females — have been selected from 71 possible jurors, who were individually interviewed by prosecution and defense attorneys.

Cuadra is accused of killing Kocis, 44, a rival producer of gay pornography, to lure an actor to the burgeoning pornography enterprise in Virginia Beach he co-owned with Joseph Kerekes. Kerekes, 35, pleaded guilty in December to second-degree homicide in the case.

Kocis’ parents and sister observed from the front row of the courtroom, as jury selection proceeded into the early evening. Thursday, prosecutors and defense attorneys questioned 36 potential jurors’ views regarding the death penalty and their possible prejudices of homosexuals.

Attorneys may move to dismiss up to 15 jurors at any time. By the end of the jury selection session Thursday, the defense had dismissed 13 potential jurors and the prosecution had dismissed 10.

Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. said Thursday given the pace of jury selection thus far, it will likely continue until Monday, when the trial was originally slated to begin.

Opening arguments in the trial are expected to begin Tuesday.

[PC Notes: Now that I'm up here [Alaska], and got a good night's sleep, I'll be checking in from time to time to ensure updates, and comments are once again current.]