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Split Decision Saved Cuadra’s Ass; Jury: Harlow Shot Himself in the Foot

WILKES-BARRE — Eight jurors put the knife in Harlow Cuadra’s hands.

Four couldn’t.

Because the jury could not unanimously decide whether Mr. Cuadra was the killer or the accomplice in Bryan Kocis’ murder, Mr. Cuadra was spared the death penalty Monday, two jurors of his homicide trial said Tuesday.

“No one knows who did the actual deed of slashing the man’s throat,” said juror Ellen Matulis, from Jenkins Twp.

She was among four jurors who believed Mr. Cuadra could’ve been the accomplice of Joseph Kerekes, his lover and business partner who previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

A day after the jury deadlocked in the penalty phase of Mr. Cuadra’s homicide trial, Ms. Matulis and another juror spoke with Times-Shamrock newspapers about the sensational case and their deliberations.

Jurors deliberated in the penalty phase of Mr. Cuadra’s murder trial for nearly six hours Monday before telling Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. they were deadlocked on whether prosecutors proved aggravating circumstances. Judge Olszewski then sentenced Mr. Cuadra to life in prison.

The same jury Thursday found Mr. Cuadra guilty of first-degree murder.

Ms. Matulis and fellow juror Daniel Austin said Mr. Cuadra sealed his own fate when he took the witness stand.

“He shot himself in the foot with the different lies,” said Mr. Austin, from Harveys Lake. “In my eyes, Harlow definitely was the one who did the actual killing.”

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