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Breaking news: Cuadra guilty of murdering gay-porn rival
A jury found Harlow Cuadra guilty Thursday of first-degree murder for killing a rival in the gay pornography industry.
Cuadra, 27, was convicted of killing Bryan Kocis and setting fire to his Dallas Twp. home in January 2007.
Cuadra could face the death penalty. Jurors will convene later for a penalty phase, to weigh aggravating factors and mitigating circumstances against Cuadra. Jurors have to unanimously choose the death penalty.
Kocis, 44, was stabbed to death on Jan. 24, 2007. Prosecution, lead by Assistant District Attorney Michael Melnick, said Cuadra killed Kocis, a rival gay pornography producer, to further his own business. Cuadra co-owned a male escort and gay pornography business in Virginia Beach, Va., with Joseph Kerekes.
Prosecution witnesses testified the two men wanted to lure an actor, who was in a contract dispute with Kocis, to their burgeoning company to increase traffic to their pornography Web site.
Testimony lasted 12 days in the capital homicide trial, with prosecution presenting nearly 90 witnesses. Cuadra’s defense called only two witnesses. Cuadra's own testimony lasted about six hours.
Kerekes, 35, pleaded guilty in December to second-degree homicide and is serving a life sentence. Kerekes told Cuadra’s attorneys he would testify, but Kerekes changed his mind Tuesday after he took the stand and refused to testify. In his plea agreement, Kerekes said he was an accomplice to Cuadra, who killed Kocis. Cuadra’s defense pointed at Kerekes as the real killer throughout the trial.