WILKES-BARRE – If adult film model Sean Lockhart was concerned for his life, the seven minute video didn’t show it.
Lockhart, 22, was shown in the video walking nude side-by-side with Harlow Cuadra, playing catch with a football and doing hand-stands on Black’s Beach outside San Diego, Calif., on April 28, 2007.
Luzerne County assistant district attorneys Michael Melnick, Shannon Crake and Allyson Kacmarski played the video to the jury on Friday, the fourth day of Cuadra’s capital murder trial before Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr.
Investigators charged Cuadra, 27, and his partner, Joseph Kerekes, 35, with killing Bryan Kocis, whom they considered their main rival in the gay pornography movie industry, on Jan. 24, 2007.
Kocis, 44, was found with a slashed neck, and nearly 30 stab wounds, inside his burned out home on Midland Drive, Dallas Township. Kerekes pleaded guilty in December to second degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Lockhart, of San Diego, was a contract model for Kocis’ company, Cobra Video.
Lockhart testified for more than five hours on Friday, explaining to the jury how he met Kocis through a boyfriend, his involvement in adult films, meetings with Cuadra and Kerekes and how he reacted after Kocis’ death.
Cobra Video filed a $1 million federal lawsuit in California in February 2006 against Lockhart and his business partner Grant Roy for breach of contract and trademark violations over the use of Brent Corrigan, a copyright name Lockhart used in adult films.
Lockhart said the lawsuit with Cobra Video was verbally settled during the adult video news expo held in Las Vegas, Nev., in mid-January 2007.
“I felt very good about it,” Lockhart said about settling the lawsuit with Cobra Video. “We had two full days with Bryan and they ended very successfully. We all wanted to benefit and move forward.”
While at the expo, Lockhart testified he and Roy had dinner at a restaurant at the Bellagio casino with Cuadra and Kerekes.
During a two hour, seven course dinner that cost about $3,000, Lockhart said he drank seven glasses of wine as Cuadra and Kerekes pressured Lockhart and Roy into filming movies together.
Lockhart said he explained to Cuadra and Kerekes about the settlement with Cobra Video, but Cuadra became agitated.
“I think (Cuadra) had a difficult time understanding why,” Lockhart testified. “It was pretty clear Harlow was frustrated, he didn’t understand the time constraints we had.”
More than a week after the expo, Lockhart said Cuadra called him on Jan. 25, 2007, and advised to go to wnep.com.
“I clicked on the story and it said a fire at 60 Midland Drive. I got that feeling in my stomach. Harlow said, ‘I guess my guy went overboard.’ I told (Cuadra) I had to go and hung up,” Lockhart testified.
Lockhart said he didn’t contact police but instead, he obtained an attorney.
Against his lawyer’s advice, Lockhart said he and Roy agreed to cooperate with Pennsylvania investigators and invited Cuadra and Kerekes to San Diego in April to discuss filming movies.
Unbeknown to Cuadra and Kerekes, Roy wore a recording device while the four met at a restaurant on April 27, 2007, where they discussed making payments under the table to avoid paying Cobra Video as required by the lawsuit settlement.
As they walked away from the restaurant, Lockhart said Cuadra pulled him away from Roy and Kerekes.
“(Cuadra) touched my arm and he said, ‘Don’t worry, it was quick; he went quick,’” Lockhart testified.
The next day, on April 28, the four men visited Black’s Beach with Roy carrying a video camera and a remote car opener that had a recording device.
Roy video recorded Lockhart and Cuadra playing on the beach. The video was played to the jury on Friday.
Lockhart said he was concerned for his life when Cuadra and Kerekes visited them in San Diego.
“I had a job to do despite my fear of my life,” Lockhart said. “I had to play it off as if everything was fine.”
Less than three weeks after investigators recorded the two conversations, Cuadra and Kerekes were arrested in their hometown, Virginia Beach, Va., on May 15, 2007.
Prosecutors are expected to play to the jury the recorded conversations when trial resumes on Monday.