Monday, March 2, 2009

Harlow Cuadra's Trial... Day 5

5:47 PM: I'm told that the meeting in the judge's chamber is aparently the result of 30 mins., or so of conversation that was heard by the jury (Sean and Grant), after Harlow and Joe were dropped off at their hotel. I'm not sure if this is in the original transcripts... so who knows.

5:39 PM: There's a meeting in the judge's chamber.

5:25 PM: I'm told that the BBT's won't be played until tomorrow... more shortly.

5:15 PM: While we await an update as to what's going on... I wanted to take a moment to mention that another witness that's expected to testify for the prosecution this week is Attorney Sam Hall, which I'm told was a mediator for the settlement agreement between Bryan Kocis, Sean Lockhart and Grant Roy.

3:25 PM: A court watcher tells me that the CCT's are still being played.

2:38 PM: More updates from a court watcher... I'm told that the tone of the conversation during the CCT's sounded friendly... definitely not chipper, but nothing really stood out. The courtroom isn’t nearly as packed as it was for Sean’s testimony, and Grant looks drawn.

1:57 PM: A court watcher tells me that the CCT's are still being played, and that it'll be a little while before the BBT's.

12:20 PM: The Citizens' Voice reports that Jurors in the Harlow Cuadra capital homicide trial began listening this morning to the first of two recorded conversations Cuadra and his business partner, Joseph Kerekes, had with two other men regarding the death of Bryan Kocis.

The recording of an April 27, 2007 meeting between Cuadra, Kerekes and Grant Roy and Sean Lockhart, takes place primarily at the Crab Catcher restaurant in San Diego, Cal. The recording lasts about three hours. Jurors listened to the first 30 minutes of the tape before breaking for lunch and are expected to listen to the remaining portion when they return.

Roy, who was business partners with Lockhart, a well-known gay pornography star, took the stand this morning in the fifth day of testimony. Lockhart and Roy were cooperating with police in the investigation of the killing of Kocis at his Dallas Township home in Jan. 24, 2007. Cuadra, 27, could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree homicide in Kocis’ stabbing death. Kerekes, 35, Cuadra’s former partner of gay pornography and male escort businesses in Viginia Beach, Va., pleaded guilty to second degree homicide. He is serving a life sentence.

Roy was wearing a recording device when he and Lockhart met the two Virginia Beach men. Cuadra and Kerekes came to San Diego, Roy testified, to try to cement a deal where Cuadra and Lockhart would act in pornographic films together.

In the first 30 minutes of the tape jurors heard Roy and police testing the recording equipment. Lockhart and Roy are also heard driving to meet Kerekes and Cuadra and some idle introductory conversations when they pick Cuadra and Kerekes at their hotel. Jurors are wearing headphones and following a transcript of testimony.

County Judge Peter Paul Olszewksi Jr. told jurors testimony will resume at 1:15 p.m. and will likely continue past 4:30 p.m. today until Roy’s testimony is finished.

11:43 AM: According to the Times Leader, prosecutors are playing the conversation between Grant Roy and Sean Lockhart with Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes to the Luzerne County jury.

The three hour conversation was intercepted by investigators from a recording device Roy wore on his belt buckle at Crabcatchers Restaurant outside San Diego, Calif., on April 27, 2007. The restaurant recording was one of two intercepts where investigators alleged Cuadra and Kerekes made "admissions" to the murder of gay pornographic movie producer Bryan Kocis.

Roy, an adult film producer, told the jury in his testimony that he cooperated with investigators, and voluntarily agreed to wear a recording device when the four men met at the restaurant.

Roy testified Cuadra and Kerekes wanted to film movies with Lockhart, his business partner and former lover.

After Kocis was killed, Roy told the jury that Cuadra called Lockhart and referred him to on Jan. 25, 2007.

"Lockhart was concerned that we were next," Roy testified. During that phone call on Jan. 25, Lockhart had testified Cuadra said to him, "I guess my guy went overboard."

Roy further told the jury that there were a number of phone calls and e-mails from Cuadra and Kerekes after Kocis' death, pushing them into filming.

"I told them just keep away from us." Roy said.

At some point in April, Roy said Kerekes sent him an e-mail and the four men agreed to meet in San Diego on April 27. That's when Roy volunteered to wear a recording device for investigators.

A second recorded conversation the four men had on a nude beach on April 28 is also expected to be played to the jury.

11:34 AM: A court watcher tells me that they're playing the tapes right now… breaking at noon for lunch and then playing the remaining 2 ½ hrs of tape.

10:35 AM: Reports from the Citizens' Voice say that Grant Roy testified today that he made it clear during his first meeting with Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes that he wanted no one to harm Bryan Kocis.

Roy and his partner Sean Lockhart, who were involved in a highly publicized legal dispute with Kocis, met Cuadra and Kerkes at a dinner meeting in a Las Vegas restaurant in early January 2007, Roy testified this morning during Cuadra’s capital homicide trial.

Cuadra could face the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree homicide in Kocis’ Jan. 24, 2007, stabbing death. Five witnesses, including Roy, were called today by prosecution in the fifth day of testimony.

“I told them ‘If something happened to Bryan, they’re going to show up at my door the next day. If something happened to either one of us they’re going to show up at his door the next day,’” Roy said.

Cuadra, 27, and Kerkes, 35, owned an escort and gay pornography business in Virginia Beach, Va. They were meeting with Roy and Lockhart in hopes of forming a business relationship where Cuadra and Lockhart would act in films together, Roy said.

“Harlow and both Joe seemed a little eager to get this production under way,” Roy said. “I didn’t see the need to rush. At various times, I expressed to them I didn’t think it’d be a problem if we could get out from this mediation (with Kocis).”

Roy said a settlement between Lockhart and Kocis was nearly finished.The settlement would allow Lockhart to act again under his screen name Brent Corrigan. Because the settlement was still being negotiated, Roy said, he couldn’t reveal that information to Cuadra or Kerekes. But as

the seven-course dinner progressed, he said, both men were drinking excessively and became more insistent.

“(Kerekes) said, ‘Harlow has this guy who will do anything for him,'” Roy testified. Roy said he took this statement to mean murder.

Roy’s testimony was stopped for a brief recess. When jurors return, prosecutors are expected to play a taped conversation Roy had with Cuadra and Kerekes at a nude beach near San Diego in April 2007, when Cuadra discusses Kocis’ death.

9:35 AM: The Times Leader is reporting that Adult film producer Grant Roy testified he went to the FBI with information that gay pornographic movie producer Bryan Kocis filmed movies involving a minor.

Roy said he was involved in federal litigation with Kocis who filed a civil lawsuit alleging his model, Sean Lockhart, violated trademark rights in February 2006. Roy and Lockhart were named in the lawsuit, including their production company, LSG Media, LLC.

Roy told the jury that he was upset with Kocis about the lawsuit, and went to federal authorities that Kocis filmed movies with Lockhart, who was 17 years old at the time.

Roy said the lawsuit with Kocis was settled in January 2007.

Roy is likely to stay on the witness stand for much of Monday, the fifth day of the capital murder trial of Harlow Cuadra, charged in the killing of Kocis.

Two representatives from hotels in Virginia Beach testified earlier Monday that Cuadra stayed at the Hilton near the Norfolk, VA, airport and at the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Norfolk from Jan. 30, 2007 to Feb. 10, 2007.

Prosecutors said Cuadra's home in Virginia Beach is near the two hotels.

Roy is expected to tell the jury that he wore a recording device when he met with Cuadra in San Diego, Calif., in late April 2007. Prosecutors alleged in court records that Cuadra made "admissions" to Kocis' killing.

8:28 AM: Harlow Cuadra's fifth day of trial is scheduled to begin in just a few minutes. Grant Roy is expected to testify today, and prosecutors are expected to play two recorded conversations he and Sean Lockhart had with Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes in San Diego, Calif., on April 27 and April 28, 2007. Stay tuned for further updates throughout the day.