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Another Porner Goes to Jail: Kerekes Cops to Kocis Killing; Gets Life

WILKES-BARRE – When Harlow Cuadra returned to a Plains Township motel where he and Joseph Kerekes had been staying in January 2007, he told Kerekes he had followed through on their plans: the murder of Bryan Kocis, Kerekes told attorneys in recent days.

Kerekes, who pleaded guilty on Monday to charges stemming from his role in Kocis’ death, also said Cuadra stole a number of items from Kocis’ Dallas Township home. Kerekes said he and Cuadra disposed of the murder weapon and a few of Kocis’ personal belongings.

Kerekes, 34, of Virginia Beach, Va., was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on the charge of second-degree murder. Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. also sentenced Kerekes on four related charges.

Cuadra, 27, and Kerekes were charged with the Jan. 24, 2007, stabbing death of Kocis, their rival in the gay porn industry. They were scheduled to stand trial together in January, but Kerekes entered a guilty plea agreement with prosecutors after discussions during the last week.

Cuadra is still scheduled to stand trial next month.

Attorneys and family members could not comment on the case because of a court-imposed gag order. Michael Kocis, the victim’s father, spoke before the sentencing and expressed gratitude toward prosecutors and authorities for their hard work in bringing some closure.

“We will never forgive and we will never forget what Mr. Kerekes has done to this family,” Michael Kocis said.

Kocis’ mother and sister also spoke in court and cried as they said they were thankful for some closure, and that the family was glad Kerekes had come to terms with what happened.

Kerekes did not speak before being sentenced but cried when Olszewski read the charges. As he was leaving the courthouse, Kerekes said he “absolutely will not testify for the state against Harlow (Cuadra)” at the trial.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Melnick said he and Assistant District Attorney Shannon Crake, as well as Kerekes and his attorneys, John Pike and Shelley Centini, met several times during the past four to five days, including Sunday, to discuss the plea.

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.

Kerekes was sentenced to an additional 56 months on charges of conspiracy to commit robbery, theft by unlawful taking, tampering with physical evidence and conspiracy to commit tampering with physical evidence. Olszewski ordered Kerekes to pay more than $2,500 in funeral costs to the estate of Kocis, and $250 in homeowner’s insurance.

“Essentially, you’ve given up your life,” Olszewski said. “You will not be a free man ever again.”

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