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Accused Killers of Gay Porn Producer Sued by Victim’s Family

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday May 1, 2008

Two men accused in the death of a gay porn producer have seen developments in legal actions taken against them in the last few days.

Pennsylvania newspaper The Times Leader reported that Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes, both of Virginia, were ruled against in a default judgment in the matter of a lawsuit brought against the two men, who are in prison awaiting trial in the death of Bryan Kocis, whose company, Cobra Video, was reportedly a business competitor of the suspects in the gay porn industry.

Media reports from last year said that Kocis and the suspects were embroiled in a disagreement over a 20-year-old actor. Reports said that the suspects were accused of cutting Kocis' throat, and then stabbing him up to 28 times.

The suit was filed by Michael Kocis, the father of the victim, and alleges that the suspects killed Kocis in January of last year, and then set his Pennsylvania house ablaze in an attempt to destroy evidence of the crime. The victim's body was discovered when the fire department responded to the blaze.

The civil suit is an attempt to ensure that Kocis' family will have access to any assets the men may have, the Times Leader reported.

Earlier media reports indicated that Cuadra and Kerekes had had their assets seized by the state government of Virginia, which had been investigating the men on a separate charge when they were arrested in connection with Kocis' death.

Currently, the two are being represented by state defenders as indigent prisoners. Prosecutors in the case are pushing for the death penalty.

The court found against Cuadra and Kerekes last week when they did not respond to the lawsuit, said Conrad Falvello, the attorney representing Michael Kocis; however, they may still move to reverse the judgment. If they do not, the case will move forward to the trial stage, where damages will be specified.

The Times Leader article reported that Falvello had said that the insurance company for Kocis' home also had a stake in the suit, because the company may also be owed for damages.

One of the suspects, meantime, is pursuing an appeal to reverse a ban on an attorney who allegedly had met with the suspect beforehand.

The Times Leader reported in a May 1 story that Cuadra is appealing a court decision that attorney Demetrius Fannick may not represent him due to a conflict of interest arising from an alleged meeting between the two men prior to Fannick's having been employed in Cuadra's defense.

Typically, such an appeal would mean that the trial date in the criminal case would have to be pushed back until the appeal was settled, the Times Leader reported; in this case, however, the judge, Peter Paul Olszewski Jr., ruled that the case would proceed as scheduled.

Cuadra and Kerekes are scheduled to strand trial for the death of Kocis in September of this year.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.