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Harlow Cuadra Murder Trial Enters 2nd Week

Prosecution laying foundation to place Cuadra at scene of Bryan Kocis murder.
Harlow Cuadra Murder Trial Enters 2nd Week
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Mar 2, 2009 4:00 PM PST    Text size: 
WILKES-BARRES, Pa. — The capital murder trial of Harlow Cuadra enters its second week today in a Pennsylvania courthouse. The trial has drawn a packed courtroom and scandalized the local media — as well as the gay/gossip blogosphere — as sordid details have come to light during testimony.

Cuadra, 27, and Joseph Kerekes, 34, both escorts, gay adult producers and website entrepreneurs, are accused of murdering Cobra Video producer Bryan Kocis in January 2007 and setting fire to his Dallas Township, Pa. home.

They were arrested in May 2007 and formally charged two months later. In early December 2008, Kerekes abruptly pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He was sentenced to the mandatory life in prison without parole. The plea spared Kerekes from facing the death penalty.

In addition to the murder charge, he pleaded guilty to additional charges of criminal conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to tamper with physical evidence, tampering with physical evidence, and theft.

However, upon entering his plea, he refused to testify against Cuadra.

Prosecutors are expected to play taped conversations Cuadra and Kerekes had with two other men about the killing, reports the Citizen's Voice newspaper today . Authorities recorded the conversations as the men walked on a nude beach in April 2007 in La Jolla, San Diego.

One newspaper account notes that prosecutors spent the first three days of testimony "laying a foundation that placed Cuadra in Northeastern Pennsylvania the night Kocis died. Emails, 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 [2007]. 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."

Friday, the fourth day of testimony, saw the testimony of Sean Lockhart, known to gay adult as performer Brent Corrigan. "Lockhart worked for Kocis, but Cuadra and Kerekes were trying to lure the young actor to their pornography business in Virginia Beach," reports the Citizen's Voice.

Lockhart testified about conversations he had with Cuadra prior to Kocis' death, as well as what was discussed between them afterwards.

Grant Roy, Lockhart's business partner, carried a concealed recording device, on behalf of the Pennsylvania State Police, during two conversations he and Lockhart held with Cuadra and Kerekes, including on the San Diego nude beach. Roy is expected to testify today, upon which those taped conversations will be played to the court.

Cuadra's defense team contends that none of the prosecution's evidence "puts the knife in Cuadra's hand or proves that he killed Kocis," said Joseph D'Andrea during his opening statement to the jury last week.

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