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Bryan Kocis Murder Trial: Kerekes Said He Did it; Cuadra Said Kerekes Didn’t; Who Stole the Rolex?

WILKES-BARRE – Joseph Kerekes [pictured] admitted he killed Bryan Kocis.

Harlow Cuadra said Kerekes didn’t do it.

Cuadra, 27, made the statement to Luzerne County Det. Lt. Daniel Yursha and Dallas Township police Sgt. Doug Higgins, who were investigating the January 2007 murder of Kocis.

“Our official purpose was to notify and read the criminal complaint to Harlow Cuadra,” Yursha testified on Monday during Cuadra’s capital murder trial before a Luzerne County jury.

It took 75 minutes to read the arrest records to Cuadra after his arrest in Virginia Beach, Va., on May 15, 2007, Yursha said. Yursha and Higgins then asked Cuadra if he was hungry.

“He blurted out, ‘Joe didn’t do it,’” Higgins told the jury. “The last thing he said was, ‘Joe didn’t do it.’”

Investigators alleged Cuadra and Kerekes, 35, plotted to kill Kocis, 44, whom they considered their main rival in the gay film production industry. Kocis was found dead with a slashed neck, and 28 stab wounds, inside his Midland Drive, Dallas Township, home that was set ablaze on Jan. 24, 2007.

A motive to the murder, prosecutors claim, was Cuadra and Kerekes wanted to film movies with Sean Lockhart, a contract adult film actor for Kocis’ company, Cobra Video.

Assistant district attorneys Michael Melnick, Shannon Crake and Allyson Kacmarski rested their case against Cuadra on Monday, spending 10 days and calling 86 witnesses to testify in hopes of convincing the jury to convict Cuadra.

Cuadra could face the death penalty if convicted of first degree murder.

Kerekes pleaded guilty in December to second-degree murder and is serving life in prison.

Cuadra’s attorneys, Joseph D’Andrea and Paul Walker, issued a subpoena for Kerekes, who may testify on Cuadra’s behalf today.

D’Andrea and Walker further issued a subpoena for Bobby Lee Komrowski, who wishes to withdraw his recent guilty plea of third-degree murder in the killing of his girlfriend Amy Comly in October 2007. Komrowski, 50, was jailed for more than a year at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility where Kerekes was housed until he was transferred to state prison three months ago.

Kocis’ father, Michael Kocis, testified on Monday telling the jury about the times they went bow hunting. Bryan enjoyed target shooting with handguns, and was a private person, Michael Kocis said.

“You couldn’t just drop in, he was very private,” Michael Kocis told the jury.

He tearfully recalled when he learned about his son’s death.

“I broke down and cried,” Michael said. “I couldn’t believe it was actually him; he was basically burned beyond recognition and I couldn’t do a damn thing about it.”

Kocis’ father said he wasn’t aware his son was involved in the production of adult films. He told the jury that several items, including a Rolex watch and two laptop computers, were missing from his son’s home.

Prosecutors attempted to establish during the trial that Kocis’ murder involved felony crimes, a requirement for the death penalty.

Veteran criminal investigator state police Cpl. Leo Hannon Jr. was the last witness to testify for prosecutors, summing up the entire case that involved numerous trips to Virginia Beach, consulting with experts in the telecommunications industry, San Diego, Calif., police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Naval Intelligence Unit, U.S. Attorney Offices and a Sony production facility in Japan.

Two Sony digital cameras with obliterated serial numbers found under a towel in the Virginia Beach, Va., home of Cuadra and Kerekes were the same exact models missing from Kocis’ residence, Hannon said.

Hannon said the cameras seized from the Virginia Beach home were analyzed by the FBI in Virginia, and shipped to Sony corporate offices in Japan. Sony engineers were unable to find a second serial number on both cameras, Hannon said.

A majority of the witnesses during the trial were representatives and experts in the telecommunications industry as prosecutors attempted to link Cuadra and Kerekes to Kocis’ murder by numerous e-mails and phone calls.

Trooper Brian Murphy, a computer forensic investigator, said Cuadra and Kerekes set up a bogus Yahoo! e-mail account in the name of Danny Moilin, and applied to Cobra Video on Jan. 22, 2007.

The application caught the attention of Kocis, who sought more information from Moilin and arranged to meet him at his Dallas Township home on Jan. 24.

Investigators traced the e-mails to the home of Cuadra and Kerekes, and learned they traveled in a rented 2006 Nissan XTerra to the Wyoming Valley on Jan. 23, when they checked in at the Fox Ridge Inn in Plains Township.

Prosecutors showed an enlarged copy of the motel guest sheet to the jury on Monday, illustrating Kerekes began to fill out the address section writing, “1028 Stra,” but crossed it out and wrote an address in Roanoke, Va., with a Florida zip code.

Cuadra and Kerekes shared a home at 1028 Stratem Court in Virginia Beach where they operated their male escort business and gay film Web site boybatter.com.

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