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Cuadra greets potential   jurors at his porn murder trial

WILKES-BARRE — Harlow Cuadra wore a gray suit and purple shirt Tuesday to meet the people who could decide his fate.

With a quick wave and the words “good morning,” Mr. Cuadra acknowledged the 125 potential jurors before jury selection began in his capital homicide case.

Mr. Cuadra, 27, of Virginia Beach, Va., is accused of killing Bryan Kocis and setting fire to his Dallas Twp. home in January 2007. Along with his former business partner Joseph Kerekes, who has already pleaded guilty, Mr. Cuadra is accused of eliminating Mr. Kocis, a rival producer, in an attempt to lure an actor to their fledgling gay pornography business in Virginia Beach.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys interviewed 10 prospective jurors Tuesday afternoon, selecting only one — an elderly woman.

Twelve jurors and four alternates will be selected in the next several days, Judge Peter Paul Olzsewski Jr. said. He said the trial could last three weeks.

Each juror was questioned on familiarity with the high-profile case and his or her ability to ignore any previous knowledge obtained through media accounts. Jurors were also questioned on their opinions of the death penalty, which prosecutors are pursuing.

Mr. Cuadra is accused of slashing Mr. Kocis’ neck, nearly decapitating him, and stabbing him nearly 30 times. Mr. Kerekes, 35, who also faced the death penalty, pleaded guilty in December to second-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

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