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Kerekes’ Defense Motion to Prevent Rebuttal Witness Dismissed

Co-defendant Kerekes denied motion to sanction witnesses that could rebut his alibi
Kerekes’ Defense Motion to Prevent Rebuttal Witness Dismissed
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May 14, 2008 5:00 PM PDT    Text size: 
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — A motion filed by defense attorneys for accused murder suspect Joseph Kerekes was denied and dismissed by a Luzerne County judge today. The motion would have sanctioned against prosecution witnesses that could dispute Kerekes’ alibi.

The list of nearly 100 witnesses for the prosecution includes the names of jailhouse cellmates and prison officials that Kerekes allegedly told information about the 2007 murder of gay adult film producer Bryan Kocis.

Kerekes stands accused of the murder with business partner Harlow Cuadra.

The pair owned an adult content production company and allegedly carried out the crime as part of a plot to steal an exclusive performer from Cobra Video, the company that Kocis owned.

Kocis’ body was found by firefighters after responding to a fire at the victim’s residence. The producer had been stabbed multiple times and had his throat slashed. Authorities speculate that the blaze was set in order to cover up the crime.

Kerekes’ attorneys argued that the list of prosecution witnesses was too long, even after it had been cut down from nearly 400 names. Attorney John Pike argued also that several names on the list were not clearly identifiable, with no apparent connection to Kerekes or the alibi defense that attorneys plans on using at trial.

"We've got an open-door policy," Assistant District Attorney Melnick said, explaining that there might be some difficulty for Kerekes’ court-appointed defense team to identify the listed witnesses. "We'd be happy to sit down with Mr. Pike and debrief him."

According to an article on TimesLeader.com, documents filed by the prosecution said the Kerekes had a number of conversations with fellow inmates in which he gave details of the murder scheme.

Robert Rodden, an inmate in the Luzerne County Prison where Kerekes is awaiting trial, was interviewed by the prosecution and said that Kerekes had described his actions prior to the time of the murder.

Kerekes’ alibi places him at the Fox Ridge Inn at the time of the murder, nearby the Kocis residence in Pennsylvania.

According to Rodden, Kerekes said he had purchased a knife in Virginia before traveling to Pennsylvania with Cuadra, and then purchased another knife before checking into the inn.

Rodden also stated that Kerekes said he made several phone calls from the inn, in order to provide himself with an alibi.

Kerekes planned to blame the murder on Cuadra, Rodden said. During another conversation, the defendant allegedly told Rodden, “They won’t be able to get me for murder. Harlow went out to meet the guy and he won’t say anything … because I told him not to. I’ll get out in five years and make tons of money off of this.”

The trial date for Cuadra and Kerekes is scheduled for Sept. 2. However, if the two men are tried separately, only one will go to trial on that date.

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