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“Cobra Killer” convict seeks new trial in case that unraveled on Black’s Beach

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WILKES BARRE, Pa. — The man convicted in the “Cobra Killer” case — a gay porn murder mystery that had ties to San Diego and Black’s Beach — has asked for a new trial, according to the Times-Leader.

Harlow Cuadra, 32, of Virginia Beach, who was convicted in the gruesome slaying of 40-year-old gay-porn king Bryan Kocis in 2007, is claiming that his co-defendant and former boyfriend did the murder and that his attorneys made a poor case that resulted in his conviction. Cuadra was given a life sentence after being convicted of first degree murder and after the jury did not vote unanimously to impose the death penalty.

Cuadra’s attorneys at the time — Joseph D’Andrea and Paul Walker — disputed his claims in Luzerne County Court on Friday, Jan. 3. Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III set Jan. 20 for Cuadra’s new attorney, Demetrius Fannick, to file a supplemental brief and gave the prosecution another 10 days to respond to the filing.

Co-defendant Joseph Kerekes, 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Kerekes also testified against Cuadra as part of his deal with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.

Kocis was murdered on Jan. 24, 2007. His throat was slashed so severely that his head was nearly severed. He was also stabbed 28 times in the chest and abdomen, according to testimony. Then the corpse was burned, and the fire spread throughout the house. Police forensic experts needed dental records to positively identify the body, according to a 2012 article written by SDGLN Nightlife Columnist Jim Winsor.

Winsor wrote about the San Diego connection to the notorious murder case, including “a bizarre police wiretap operation conducted while the participants were frolicking and filming nude on Black’s Beach.”

San Diego-based porn star Brent Corrigan and his then-partner Grant Roy, working with detectives, lured the two suspects to San Diego and invited them to go to the famous nude beach. The suspects were suspicious of Roy, but became talkative once everybody stripped off their clothes. What they did not know is that police has rigged a car key fob with a miniature recording device that recorded every word that was said.

At one point Cuadra stated: “It was quick. He never, he never saw it coming.”

Shortly after, the suspects were arrested in connection with the murder of Kocis.

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