After a week of jury selection in which 12
jurors and 4 alternates were accepted, the capital murder trial of
gay porn star Harlow Cuadra began in a Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
courtroom Tuesday after numerous delays, reports the Times Leader.
Defense lawyers laid out a vigorous
defense in their opening arguments. They claim Cuadra is innocent of
the January 2007 killing of rival gay porn producer Bryan Kocis, 44.
Kocis, who once filed bankruptcy, built a porn empire peddling twink
boys in bareback videos.
Kocis' body was found by firemen
responding to a fire at the porn king's Dallas Township house on the
night of January 24, a Wednesday, his neck slashed to the point of
near decapitation and his torso stabbed 28 times.
On Tuesday, jurors heard from 5 medical
experts who identified Kocis' remains.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Mary Frances
Pascucci testified that Kocis likely died from a blow to his neck and
presented photos showing Kocis had suffered third-degree burns over
90 percent of his body. Medical records were used to identify the
body, she said.
Investigators allege Cuadra, 27, and
his lover, Joseph Kerekes, 35, who were involved in gay online
pornography and escorting themselves, are responsible for the murder.
The two plotted to kill the porn producer in an effort to cut free
Kocis' biggest star, Sean Lockhart, from his contractual obligations,
Last December Kerekes pleaded guilty to
second-degree murder and is now serving a life sentence without the
possibility of parole after admitting he knew of and helped
facilitate the murder.
It's likely that Cuadra's defense will
rest on pinning the murder on his former lover and business partner,
Kerekes, or Lockhart and his boyfriend, Grant Roy.
“Our defense is simple, Harlow didn't
do it,” defense lawyer Joseph D'Andrea told the jury in his opening
statement. “You'll hear that Grant Roy and Sean Lockhart hated
Bryan Kocis; they even wanted him dead. They (Kerekes and Cuadra)
had a male escort business, a male prostitution business. It was
money that motivated Joseph Kerekes; he prostituted his lover Harlow
to make money.”
Kocis had built his Cobra Video gay
porn business off the backs of barely legal young boys; his most
lucrative star was Lockhart, who starred in several videos under the
name Brent Corrigan. The two met on the Internet when Lockhart was
living in San Diego and desperate for cash. But after being turned
into a porn star – and Kocis' part-time lover – Lockhart wanted
out, and new boyfriend, Roy, wanted in as manager.
Letting go was not easy for Kocis, who
fought for the Brent Corrigan naming rights in court.
D'Andrea characterized the relationship
Lockhart and Roy had with Kocis as “hostile.”
According to statements Roy made to gay
monthly Out, Cuadra, Kerekes, Lockhart and Roy had agreed to
produce a film starring Lockhart and Cuadra, which they believed would
be worth $1 million. Kocis, who had yet to contractually release his
former sex star, stood in the way of their million dollar plan.
Both Lockhart and Roy are expected to
testify at the trial, but Kerekes has refused.
The trial continues.