Sunday, March 8, 2009

So What Will Joe Say Now?

Last week, Harlow Cuadra's defense attorneys filed the required paperwork needed to have Joseph Kerekes come back from his digs at Camp Hill, and testify during Harlow's trial... surprisingly for Harlow.

Over the course of the past couple of years... we've heard a lot from Joe since his arrest (not to mention a lot before it), and with every passing discussion, he seems to change his tune... here's a really small sample:

May-July 2007: Joe seemed to love talking on the jailhouse phone, and I mean a lot... here's just one example of his phone conversations, this one being between him, Renee Martin and Harlow Cuadra.

July 2007: In a jailhouse interview at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, Kerekes said Cuadra left the motel room at 6:30 p.m. to meet with Kocis. Kerekes stayed at the motel using his laptop computer to access his Yahoo e-mail.

“That will show I was at the inn,” Kerekes said.

Kerekes said Cuadra called him when he arrived at Kocis’ home at about 7 p.m. He said he was surprised when Cuadra immediately called him after a few minutes saying he was leaving.

“Harlow called and said something was wrong and that he was leaving. He said, ‘I can’t talk about it on the phone, I’ll be there in a few minutes,’ ” Kerekes said.

Kerekes said Cuadra arrived at the motel room and they quickly checked out. They drove onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike when Kerekes said Cuadra told him what he saw at Kocis’ home.

“Harlow said he got there the door was partially open. He looked inside and saw an overturned table and smelled smoke. He said he saw someone on a couch or chair, and heard a noise upstairs, like someone was about to come down,” Kerekes said.

August 2007: As they left the magistrate's office, Cuadra and Kerekes, both of Virginia Beach, maintained their innocence. Kerekes said he can prove he was not at Kocis' house the night of the murder.

"No, I was never in that house and we will hire an expert to prove that I was nowhere near that house," Kerekes said.
Joseph Kerekes, 33, appeared upbeat while exiting the courtroom Thursday, his head held high, a pleased expression on his face.

“I just think it’s great the burglary charges were dropped. We didn’t steal anything from that poor man,” he said, commenting on a district judge’s decision to uphold all charges – including homicide, conspiracy, arson, and abuse of corpse – against him and 26-year-old Harlow Cuadra, except for burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.

December 2008: On the day Joe pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, Melnick said Kerekes told them Cuadra decided to “eliminate” Kocis, purchased a .38-caliber gun and knife from a Virginia Beach pawn shop and rented an SUV to drive to Pennsylvania. Melnick said Kerekes and Cuadra traveled together and Kerekes said he paid cash for a room at the Fox Hill Inn because the motel had no security or surveillance. They paid for the room in cash so they could not be tracked.

Melnick said Kerekes told them the two did surveillance on the Kocis home prior to the homicide, and that Kerekes participated in e-mail correspondence sent to Kocis before his death. Kerekes told attorneys he was aware Cuadra intended to kill Kocis, and the lighter fluid and lighters used to set the blaze were purchased at Wal-Mart.

Kerekes said he stayed at the motel while Cuadra went to the Kocis home. When Cuadra returned, he said he had murdered Kocis and set the home ablaze, according to Kerekes. Prosecutors said Kocis’ throat was slashed to the point his death was ruled homicide by decapitation.

Kerekes told attorneys Cuadra returned with several items belonging to Kocis, including a Rolex watch, camcorders, tapes, computers and Kocis’ cell phone. They discarded the murder weapon and some of Kocis’ belongings.

How Joe's stories have changed over time... I wonder what 'version' we'll hear next, assuming he takes the stand this week? The prosecution must be tickled to death (no pun intended), as I certainly can't see Joe doing the defense any favors by testifying, no matter what he says.

[Note: This post is based upon my own personal opinion.]