||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (November 2012)|
|Born||Bryan Charles Kocis
May 28, 1962
|Died||January 24, 2007
Dallas Township, Pennsylvania
|Cause of death||Death by stabbing|
|Other names||Bryan Phillips|
|Known for||Cobra Video founder
Brent Corrigan controversy
Bryan Charles Kocis was born and raised in Larksville, Pennsylvania. He attended Wyoming Valley West High School winning several scholarships, graduating in 1980. He was winner of a nationwide photography contest. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology. Upon graduation from RIT, he held a specialized position as a biomedical photographer for a local eye doctor in Kingston, Pennsylvania until the mid-1990s.
Dissatisfied with his situation after his employer merged with another office in the mid-1990s, he left and tried his hand at several "legitimate" businesses. Each failed. His low point occurred in December 2001, when Kocis declared bankruptcy in federal court, hoping to eliminate $222,800 of debt mostly from credit cards and loans. Soon after resolving his legal troubles, though, interest in Kocis’ Internet pornography products apparently boomed.
In the five years after his bankruptcy, he amassed a personal fortune that included a Maserati convertible, a BMW sport utility and a high-end, V8 Aston Martin. According to deeds filed in the Luzerne County Courthouse, in addition to his Dallas Township home, Kocis owned adjacent Rice Township parcels. One acquired for $159,900 in 2004 and another bought for $225,000 in 2006. The documents show no mortgages against the properties. Neighbors said Kocis claimed he paid the full cash amount upfront for both.
Allegations of sexual abuse of a child
In 2002, police found a videotape of Bryan Kocis, then 39, and a 15-year-old male in his home. Kocis met the boy on the Internet and transported him to his hometown. Kocis pled guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a child. He was initially charged with child pornography, and transportation of a minor for sexual purposes. Since the boy had lied about his age Kocis was given a probation sentence.
In 2006 a judge signed paperwork changing Kocis' charge from sex assault to corruption of minors. Kocis' former attorney, Al Flora, said the change was made because the original charge of sexual assault of a child was a mistake and that, "We didn't realize there was an error until 2006." Flora said his former client was a legitimate businessman and not at all a pedophile. Kocis was not required to be registered as a Megan's Law offender.
The Judge who signed paperwork changing Kocis' charge from sex assault to corruption of minors in 2006 and who directed that Kocis was not required to register as a sex offender under Pennsylvania's Megans Law was Former Luzerne County President Judge Michael Conahan. Michael Conahan subsequently pled guilty to federal racketeering charges in relation to the infamous kids for cash scandal and he is currently in prison on a 17 year prison sentence. The US Attorney's investigation of Conahan revealed that Conahan met regularly with an individual with organized crime associations in a public restaurant for breakfast.
Kocis was found dead on January 24, 2007, after a fire at his Dallas Township, Pennsylvania home. According to the investigating coroner, Kocis was stabbed 28 times and his throat was cut, nearly decapitating him. His body was left in the house before it was set on fire. A folding-style knife was found nearby. Officials had to use dental records to identify Kocis because his body was burned beyond recognition.
Believing the killer or killers had a "personal association" with Kocis, the Luzerne County District Attorney's office sought all of the electronic communication of the 44-year-old during the week prior to his death. Police theorized Kocis' text messages, e-mails and voice mails would lead them to whoever committed the murder. On the night of Kocis' death, police stated they believed he was expecting to meet with a "new model." This meeting was to occur at Kocis' Luzerne County home, according to newspapers in the area. Police further revealed that Kocis had e-mailed some photos of the alleged new model to "an associate" whom he notified of the upcoming meeting. That associate then contacted police after the murder and provided e-mails to them to aid them in their investigation.
John Yates, a California attorney representing Sean Lockhart (Brent Corrigan), a former model for Cobra Video who had been involved with a lengthy and rather public legal dispute, said Jan. 25, 2007, that police were trying to locate that man. A "light-colored" SUV was seen leaving the scene and was sought by police. Kocis and Lockhart had been embroiled in a bitter legal dispute since parting ways in 2005. Yates also represented Grant Roy in a suit Kocis filed in federal court. Police interviewed several of Yates' clients, including Lockhart.
Police released at least one photo of the unnamed model to the public Feb. 2, 2007. Within 24 hours, various blogs reporting this murder within their respective communities identified this man as an escort working for Norfolk Companions, a Virginia-based escort service. The escort, going by the name "Harlow", had been identified in other blogs as possibly being the proprietor of the same company; the Virginia business licenses office listed Harlow Cuadra as the owner.
On May 15, 2007, two Virginia Beach escorts, Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes, were arrested and charged with Kocis' murder. Police arrested the pair after discovering evidence on Kocis' computer, which had survived the fire. Police theorize they killed Kocis because they wanted to work with Sean Lockhart, an actor who was under contract to Kocis. According to police, in a January meeting, Cuadra alluded to the possibility of killing Kocis if necessary in order to go into production with Lockhart. Cuadra emailed Kocis, assuming the identity of an aspiring porn actor, and arranged to meet with him on Jan. 24, 2007. In the email, he asked if they could meet alone. Cuadra and Kerekes were shown on surveillance cameras buying a gun and knife at a local pawn shop. The knife is consistent with the one used to stab Kocis. Additionally, police have audio recordings of Cuadra saying, "Actually seeing that fucker going down, it's actually sick, but it made me feel better inside. It almost felt like I got revenge and I know that sounds fucked up." In a search of the pair's home, police also found video equipment which they believe belonged to Kocis.
At the preliminary hearing on August 27, 2007, a judge ruled that prosecutors had presented enough compelling evidence against the pair to warrant their being held for trial. A total of 14 witnesses, including two medical examiners, were questioned. Additionally, the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge the pair with burglary and criminal conspiracy to commit burglary. This means that prosecutors were unable to seek the death penalty.
Jury selection for Cuadra's trial began Feb. 17, 2009, and the trial began a week later. On Feb. 27, Sean Lockhart (Brent Corrigan) testified for the prosecution about his dealings with Kerekes and Cuadra. Throughout the trial, Cuadra claimed that Kerekes controlled his life, equating their relationship with Stockholm syndrome. He also claimed that Kerekes was the one who murdered Kocis and that he wanted to go to police, but Kerekes kept him from doing so. On March 12, 2009, Cuadra was found guilty of all the charges against him, including first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, arson, robbery and tampering with or fabricating evidence. On March 16, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Less than a week later, the District Attorney's office stated they spent more than $112,000 prosecuting Kerekes and Cuadra. On April 7, 2009, Cuadra appealed his life sentence.
Cobra Killer: Gay Porn Murder, was written by authors Andrew E. Stoner and Peter A. Conway, was about Bryan Kocis' murder, and the trials of Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes. Cobra Killer was published by Magnus Books on June 19, 2012.
Bryan Kocis established Cobra Video in 2001, concentrating on the production of gay movies starring young twinks, exclusively in the 18-23 age category, engaged in either solo masturbation scenes or, mainly, bareback sex. Kocis cast and directed all Cobra productions until the time of his death.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State records showed a Cobra Video LLC was formed in Pennsylvania on or about 09/20/2002 (Entity Number 3096007). Delaware Secretary of State records showed a Cobra Video LLC was form in Delaware on or about 04/18/2005 (File Number 3956494). The Cobra Video LLC that sued Sean Lockhart et al. in Federal Court in San Diego was the Delaware Cobra Video LLC.
In August 2003 through February 2004, Kocis cast Sean Lockhart, a young model, in Cobra's Every Poolboy's Dream giving him the stage name of Brent Corrigan. Corrigan quickly went on to become the most famous and most lucrative of Kocis' stable of actors.
On September 13, 2005, Corrigan's attorney announced publicly that Corrigan was underaged when he filmed scenes for Cobra Video, and had used a fake ID to participate in those scenes. Corrigan went on to state that Kocis was aware of his underage status. Cobra denied that they were ever aware of such allegations and publicly stated that they had copies of Corrigan's ID's claiming a birth year of 1985. A civil lawsuit between the two parties erupted soon after.
Kocis, through Cobra Video, issued a statement saying that it had copies of legal identification proving Corrigan was old enough to legally work in the industry and that their current "... requests for a State-certified birth certificate of Mr. Lockhart from Mr. Lockhart's attorney have been rejected." Kocis went on to file a civil and a federal suit against Lockhart in Federal Court in San Diego, California, through Cobra Video, LLC, for trademark violations, cybersquatting, breach of contract and other disputes. The suit also sought to prevent him from using his stage name of "Brent Corrigan" because Cobra Video claims the name as a protected trademark. The matter was being adjudicated but settlement talks appear to have reached an apex on or around January 2007. A final hearing in the matter was scheduled for February 21, 2007.
Brent Corrigan trademark
According to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania records attached as exhibits in pleadings filed by the Delaware Cobra Video LLC in its federal lawsuit in San Diego, Bryan Kocis' Delaware Cobra Video LLC filed a trademark application with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on December 15, 2005 on the mark "Brent Corrigan" claiming that the mark was first used in business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on February 14, 2004. The Delaware Cobra Video LLC itself did not exist until April 18, 2005.
On October 9, 2006, Lockhart launched BrentCorriganOnline.com a private, members-only site in an attempt to "go solo". However, two days later the site's online payment coordinator, CCBill, canceled its contract, thereby preventing them from charging for their content. Statements on this site attribute the cancellation to "pressure" from Kocis.
On two occasions, Kocis voluntarily pulled several of his videos from store shelves due to a public claim by Brent Corrigan that he was underaged during the filming of scenes before 2004. On September 13, 2005, the four Cobra Video titles featuring the disputed Corrigan scenes were removed. On April 12, 2006, DVD and VHS copies of Campus Boys 1 and Campus Boys 2 were also removed. No reason was given in the later case, but an email, issued through Cobra's video distribution company Pacific Sun Entertainment, stated "Under no circumstances should these titles be sold, rented or shipped to anyone. They must be boxed, sealed, and stored at your facilities until further notice."
Bryan Kocis' lawsuit against Sean Lockhart and the claim by Luzerne County Pennsylvania Prosecutors during Harlow Cuadra's murder trial that Lockhart was "contractually bound" to perform sex acts for money for Bryan Kocis' Cobra Video company lead to on-going public discussion about the legality of adult industry contracts and revealed why the Adult Industry in North America is concentrated in the State of California.
- Every Poolboy's Dream, 2004 (Cobra Video)
- Schoolboy Crush, 2004 (Cobra Video)
- Bareboned Twinks, 2005 (Cobra Video)
- Casting Couch 4, 2005 (Cobra Video)
The previous four titles have been voluntarily removed from circulation due to Corrigan's underage dispute. They have remained for sale on internet auction sites.
- Cream BBoys, 2006 (Cobra Video)
- Naughty Boy's Toys, 2006 (Cobra Video)
- Brent Corrigan: Fuck Me Raw, 2006 (Cobra Video)
- Take It Like a Bitch Boy, 2006 (Cobra Video)
- "Kocis’ parents still without closure". Archived from the original on 2009-03-21.
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- Dallas Township man charged with sexually assaulting teen
- Dallas Township man pleads guilty to sexual abuse of children
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- Virginia Seizes Assets Of Pair Accused Of Killing Gay Porn Producer; 365gay.com;2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
- Enough Evidence Against Pair In Gay Slaying For Murder Trial Judge Rules; published 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2007-08-30.
- Guilty plea in porn-producer murder case[dead link]; published 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- [dead link]
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- Cuadra: Kerekes killed him[dead link]
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- https://www.corporations.state.pa.us/corp/soskb/csearch.asp?corpsNav=%7C PA Secretary of State
- https://delecorp.delaware.gov/tin/GINameSearch.jsp Delaware Secretary of State
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- "Lockhart and Belville have told GAYVN that Lockhart's birthdate is October 31, 1986, and that Lockhart obtained false ID so he could enter the adult entertainment industry." AVN.com: Cobra Strikes Back
- " Yes. 17. Officially underage." Underage but man enough to tell (pdf)
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- Cobra Video LLC Penn Trademark on BRENT CORRIGAN
- "Pacific Sun Entertainment, which distributes Cobra Video titles, has notified all of its customers to pull the titles from their shelves, a Pacific Sun spokesman told GAYVN." Possibly Underage Gay Performer Worked for Cobra
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- http://adultbizlaw.com/the-problem-with-producing-porn-outside-california The Problem With Producing Porn Outside California
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