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Trial Date Set for Cuadra, Kerekes

Judge sets trial for Sept. 2; updates for pretrial motions and orders to attorneys
Trial Date Set for Cuadra, Kerekes
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Apr 16, 2008 5:00 PM PDT    Text size: 
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Yesterday, a story posted on TimesLeader.com reported that Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. has set the trial date for suspected murderers Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes.

Currently, the trial is scheduled to start for both men on Sept. 2. However, if the trials are severed, then only one of the men will go to trial starting in Sept.

The pair is accused in the death of gay adult video producer Bryan Kocis in January 2007.

Olszewski addressed several other pretrial disputes on Tuesday.

Attorneys for Kerekes said they would offer an alibi defense that, at first, would have claimed that Kerekes was not in the area at the time of the murder. However, the defense team amended their strategy, with an alibi that would place Kerekes at the Fox Ridge Motel in Plains Township at the time of the murder.

In response, the prosecution had presented a list of 385 possible witnesses that could potentially rebut the alibi, but the defense argued that the list may have contained many witnesses that had no knowledge of Kerekes’ whereabouts.

Olszewski ruled that the list be revised to include only witnesses that had knowledge of Kerekes’ location at the time of the murder, and prosecutors agreed to do so.

Also, the judge reserved judgment on a motion filed by Kerekes’ attorneys for the case to be dropped due to lack of evidence, as well as a request by the prosecution for Kerekes to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Kerekes attorney Shelley Centini stated that the defendant had not yet undergone a psychiatric evaluation on the behalf of the defense and that an examination would have to be conducted prior to an evaluation for the prosecution.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Melnick also told the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas that potential prosecution witness Justin Hensley may be able to testify in the case. Hensley once worked with Cuadra and Kerekes in the production of adult videos.

It was feared that Hensley, who is a member of the Army National Guard currently serving in Iraq, would be unavailable to testify. Though his tour of duty was recently extended, prosecutors had been informed that Hensley may be able to obtain a special leave in order to testify at the trial.

There was also a motion filed by prosecution attorneys to allow testimony Hensley gave at a preliminary hearing. Cuadra’s defense attorneys were also instructed by the judge to file all pretrial motions by May 9. Another pretrial hearing to hear the motions is likely to be scheduled within four weeks.

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