Monday, March 2, 2009

BBT's to be Played in Court Today

The Citizens' Voice is reporting that a more muscular Harlow Cuadra, than the one seated in the Luzerne County courtroom, tossed a football on a San Diego beach in a home-made video jurors watched Friday in Cuadra’s capital homicide trial.

Today, jurors will likely hear Cuadra talk about the January 2007 killing of Bryan Kocis. Prosecutors are expected to play taped conversations Cuadra and his business partner Joseph Kerekes had with two other men in April 2007 on a nude beach in the La Jolla section of San Diego.

Cuadra could face the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree homicide of Kocis, who was stabbed to death at his Dallas Township home on Jan. 24, 2007, before the Midland Drive house was set on fire. Kerekes, 35, pleaded guilty to second-degree homicide in December and is serving a life sentence.

In the first three days of testimony, prosecution’s case focused on laying a foundation that placed the 27-year-old Cuadra in Northeastern Pennsylvania the night Kocis died. E-mails, as well as computer and financial records were reviewed. Prosecutors showed rental records of a car Cuadra paid for matching the description of the silver sport utility vehicle parked outside Kocis’ house on Jan. 24. Video footage of Cuadra and Kerekes purchasing a knife and pistol from a Virginia Beach, Va., pawn shop days before Kocis died was shown to jurors.

The prosecution’s case became much more direct Friday, in the fourth day of testimony, as Sean Lockhart, a well-known gay pornography actor, testified. Lockhart told jurors about conversations he had with Cuadra leading up to Kocis’ death, as well as comments made after the January 2007 killing. Lockhart had worked for Kocis, but Cuadra and Kerekes were trying to lure the young actor to their pornography business in Virginia Beach.

Lockhart’s testimony only represents half of some of the more damaging testimony against Cuadra, prosecutors say. Grant Roy, Lockhart’s business partner at the time of Kocis death, was wearing a recording device during two conversations he and Lockhart had with Kerekes and Cuadra. The two Virginia Beach men came to San Diego in April 2007 to discuss business with Lockhart and Roy, who were cooperating with Pennsylvania State Police at the time. The four men met twice, once at a restaurant and the next day at the San Diego beach. Roy carried a key chain with a recording device hidden inside during the meeting at the beach, a previous prosecution witness testified.

Roy is expected to testify about the meetings and then prosecutors will likely play the taped conversation.

According to court documents filed in the case, the tape will include several hours of conversation. The tape jurors will hear includes the following excerpt:

“Actually, seeing that (expletive) going down, actually it’s sick, but it made me feel better inside,” Cuadra said, referring to Kocis. “It almost felt like I got revenge and I know that sounds (expletive) up.”

Prosecution is expected to continue its case through most of this week.