×
Home Culture Culture News

Death of a Porn King

Bryan Kocis made millions exploiting teenage boys in gay porn. Did one of them arrange his murder?

photograph, man, bloody knife

Close up of photograph of man and bloody knife

WIN-Initiative/Getty

Bryan Kocis spent the last day of his life working the phones, shades drawn, trying to save his porn empire. Only a few years before, Kocis had been an unemployed medical photographer in Dallas Township, a small community in eastern Pennsylvania, so strapped for cash that he had been forced to declare bankruptcy. Now he was one of the most successful producers of underground gay pornog­raphy in the country. The garage of his two-story home on Midland Drive over­flowed with expensive rides: a BMW, a Maserati, an Aston Martin. Most of his wealth came from filming”twinks” — young boys who are the age of consent but don’t look it. And in his stable of boys, none was more of a star — and more respon­sible for paying for those cars —— than Sean Lockhart.

Kocis, a reclusive middle-aged man with a paunch who liked to troll the Internet for boys, had discovered Lockhart online. The kid was a rare find — a dead ringer for Zac Efron, with a seven-and-a-half-inch penis, an unquenchable avidity on camera and a diva-like attitude away from it. While Lockhart was still a junior in high school, Kocis made and distributed films that featured the seventeen-year-old performing “bareback”— having anal sex without using a condom. During shoots, on location in Hawaii and California, Kocis also had sex with Lockhart, enjoying the perks that come with directing. Off the set, he wielded obsessive control over the teenager’s life, desperate to know, at all times, where Lockhart was and who he was talking to.

The DVDs and downloads of Lockhart — who went by nom de screen Brent Corrigan — quickly became top sellers in the industry. One film, Schoolboy Crush, was the most downloaded gay video in 2004. “Brent looks like a fifteen-year-old boy, which is what a lot of the older men who buy gay porn like,” says Chris Steele, a veteran director. “On set, he always acts like a brand-new porn star, with great energy and charisma. He has a pretty dick and a great ass, and even though he looks underage, he’s no innocent boy. A lot of boys just show up to a shoot and ask, ‘Where do you want me to stick it?’ and ‘When do I get my check?'”

But as Lockhart’s fan base expanded, Kocis faced a problem: The young star wanted to strikeout on his own. Kocis was paying Lockhart only $2,000 per sex scene — about the industry standard — for a handful of scenes each year. Kocis, by contrast, reportedly cleared $2 million a year.

Lockhart looked sweet onscreen, but being in porn had hardened him. “Sean has all the elements of a lovable villain,” says Jason Sechrest, host of an adult-industry radio show in Los Angeles. “Think Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct.” Lockhart and Kocis began a bitter public feud, which culminated last year in the director filing a $i million lawsuit against his star for breach of contract.

Now, sitting in his home on a cold day last January, Kocis was on the phone with his lawyer and his distributor, ironing out the final details of a legal settle­ment that would guarantee him continued profits from Lockhart. He was also waiting for a new boy to come over, an aspir­ing actor he hoped might take Sean’s place. The kid, who called himself Danny Moilin, had been e-mailing Kocis for several days. From the photo he sent of himself, Moi­lin looked almost too good to be true: fresh-faced, smooth-skinned and naive, just the way Kocis liked his boys. “Would like to meet with you and talk about filming and stuff,” Moilin wrote. “Don’t have much experience with this at all. May need to be taught first.”

That was all Kocis needed to hear. He set up a meeting. The boy wrote back, “Umm, can we please be alone . . . at least this first time?”

“We’ll be alone,” Kocis replied. “No worries.” Bring your stuff, he suggested, and spend the night.

No one knows exactly what happened that evening after Moilin arrived. Kocis apparently opened a bottle of wine at some point and showed Moilin his upstairs bedroom, suggest­ing that the boy move in with him. Whatever transpired, Kocis was in his element, taking a new actor under his wing. There was no sign of forced entry at his house, no struggle, nothing to indicate that he sensed what was coming.

Less than two hours later, Kocis had been brutally hacked to death. The killer or killers left little to chance. Kocis’ neck was slashed, nearly decapitating him. His hyoidbone, trachea, left carotid artery and left jugular vein were severed. After he died, Kocis was stabbed another twenty-eight times. Then his house was torched, his body lying on the living-room couch. The fire was so devastating that Kocis had to be identified using dental records.

Within weeks, it became clear that Danny Moilin was a fake identity used by a young Navy veteran named Harlow Cuadra, who worked as a male escort in Virginia Beach. Two weeks before the murder, it turned out, Cuadra and his boy­friend, another male escort, had met with Lockhart in Las Vegas. There, over din­ner and drinks at the Bellagio, Cuadra had proposed going into the porn business with Lockhart, offering him $20,000 for their first film together. The only thing standing in the way of the deal was Kocis —— and Cuadra, his boyfriend hinted darkly to Lockhart, “knows someone who would do anything for him.”

All of which left police and many in the gay-porn industry wondering: Had Sean Lockhart, the teenager with the perfect smile, arranged to have his boss killed so he could go into business for himself? Had Bryan Kocis, the man who victimized young boys, finally paid the price? For some who know Lockhart, that didn’t seem hard to believe. “Sean doesn’t have any humanity,” says Caleb Carter, another youthful-looking porn actor who, like Lockhart, made extra money by dancing at after-hours clubs in San Diego. “Sean has a god complex. He puts on a facade that he’s an innocent child, but he’s wise beyond his years.”

Sean Lockhart came from the kind of background that funnels young boys into the world of bareback porn. Born in Idaho on Halloween 1986, Sean grew up in the Seattle area. As he tells it, his mother, an alcoholic with a temper, left him with his stepfather and three siblings when Sean was in the third grade. Lockhart never knew his bio­logical father and never sought him out. “My mother never wanted to tell me anything about him,” he says now. “Her flawed philosophy of parenting was to give me the ‘space’ I needed to live my life.”

When Sean was a junior in high school, he moved to San Diego to live with his mother in a shabby house in a rough neighborhood. He was interested in film, and the move enabled him to establish state residency so he could attend college in Southern California. “It was a fresh start,” says Lockhart, who enrolled at Kearny High, an inner-city school. Being gay made him unpopular, so he took refuge in the drama society. He also became a regular in Hillcrest, San Diego’s wealthy gay enclave. Sexually active at sixteen, he was soon fending off men left and right.

It wasn’t an easy time. Sean’s brother called him “faggot,” and his stepfather, who drank, ran into trouble with the IRS. “Growing up in my family, it wasn’t encouraged to show a lot of love to each other,” Lockhart wrote later. “I just re­member a lot of hate, fighting and yelling. I don’t recall ever having a positive adult role model.” At sixteen, he began spending his weekends in Los Angeles with his new boyfriend, a twenty-one-year-old he called Jake. The two had met online, and Jake became the first in a series of older lovers eager to exploit Lockhart’s looks.

“Sean had a thing for older guys,” says Connor Ashton, who starred with Lockhart in a video produced by Kocis called Cream B Boys. “I always asked myself, ‘How important was the financial aspect of those relationships?’ I wondered if Sean was looking for a father figure and using these guys to fill that void.”

In 2003, Jake, an aspiring porn star himself, applied for a job at Cobra Video, a porn company that specialized in young boys. He was turned down —too old. But Sean, who looked twelve, was exactly what Cobra was looking for. Considering how hand-to-mouth he and his mother were living, Sean was willing to give porn a try. In an online chat, Jake gushed about Lockhart to Cobra’s owner, Bryan Ko­cis. “I have the hottest new boyfriend who is seventeen, about to turn eighteen!” he wrote. To prove it, he slipped off Sean’s shorts and turned on his Webcam to give Kocis “a live dose” of Lockhart.

Kocis was hooked. Sensing the massive following Lockhart could have, he con­tacted Sean almost every day, chatting online and on the phone for hours. Kocis sent Lockhart a video camera, which Sean used to film a “casting tape” of himself masturbating. “Bryan was good at talking at my level,” Lockhart says. “He asked a lot of questions. He wanted to know about my family situation and about how inattentive my mother was. He sort of took the place of my father, and I thought he was looking out for my best interests.”

A bland-looking man of forty-one with big ears and a pug nose, Kocis was old enough to be Lockhart’s father. Raised in the small town of Plymouth, on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, Kocis had the kind of childhood that Lock­hart could only dream of. As a boy, Bryan rose to the rank of Eagle Scout and won a nationwide photography contest as a senior in high school.

After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Kocis went to work as a biomedical photographer for an eye doctor, taking pictures to record medical experiments and procedures. It’s a small, competitive field, requiring the mastery of sophisticated digital cameras and processing techniques, as well as a deep knowledge of editing film and video. At age twenty-four, Kocis paid $56,000 for a two-story house with a big picture window at 60 Midland Drive in Dallas Township. He became a regular at local social gatherings, chatting at length with neighbors and presenting them with thoughtful gifts on birthdays and at Christmas. “Bryan always spent holidays with his family, which is scat­tered around Pennsylvania,” a friend says. “Some of them didn’t know he was gay.” Those who knew Kocis found him charismatic, articulate, a bit cocky and more than a bit ambitious.

All that changed when Kocis quit his job as a photographer and a stab at selling cell-phone service flopped. His loans and credit-card bills began to mount, even­tually totaling $222,800 and forcing him to file for bankruptcy. Unemployed and approaching forty, he began spending more and more time online, indulging his fascination with teenage boys. Using the Internet as both a recruiting tool and dis­tribution portal, Kocis launched Cobra Video in 2001. It didn’t take much —— just a couple of computers, cameras and microphones in his basement. Before long, neigh­bors noticed, boys seemed to be dropping by 60 Midland Drive all the time. Cobra got off to a slow start. Its first few efforts didn’t break any sales records. “But Bryan felt lucky,” says a friend who helped Kocis with design and marketing for his company. “He’d found a way to mix work and his talents as a businessman with his passion — pursuing boys.”

Kocis wasn’t Robert Altman. Few pornographers are skilled directors; porn, gay or straight, is about casting. Kocis had an unerring eye for the kind of models who would appeal to gay-porn consumers unin­terested in older muscle studs or buff men from Europe. “All of Bryan’s boys had creamy-white faces and that all-American, boy-next-door, just-turned-eighteen look,” says Steele, the director. “There’s a huge market for that.” What’s more, Kocis was willing to shoot bareback films, a controversial, highly lucrative niche of the gay-porn market. Most established, “mainstream” gay-porn studios — there are fewer than two dozen of them, clustered in Los An­geles and San Francisco — won’t shoot bareback films, because a model having sex without a condom is far more likely to contract HIV. Actors who perform bare­back often find themselves blackballed within the industry, forced to work with smaller studios, like Cobra, or produce amateur films on their own.

Kocis kept a low profile. Because he shot bareback, he was not invited to indus­try panels, parties or awards shows. Most of his neighbors in Pennsylvania didn’t know what sort of business was transacted at 60 Midland Drive. Cobra’s mailing address was a rented box at a local shopping center. Though Kocis sometimes filmed in his house, many of Cobra’s shoots took place on location in other states —— often at resorts or homes with outdoor pools. Because he didn’t trust anybody else, Kocis edited every one of his films himself, at home. “Bryan always referred to himself as King Cobra,” says Chris Baker, an executive at the Adult Entertain­ment Broadcast Network, a major distributor of adult content online.

But like a true amateur, Kocis couldn’t resist mixing business with pleasure. Only a few months after getting into porn, he almost scuttled his new career. In the spring of 2001, Kocis met a young Pennsylvania boy in an AOL chat room who used the screen name Superboy 298. Although the boy was only fifteen, Kocis picked him up two times near his home and took him back to Midland Drive. Each time, he had sex with the boy —— including once on camera— — after promising him a job packaging Cobra videos for online orders.

The boy eventually spilled the beans to his parents. Police and the FBI raided the house on Midland Drive and took away pornographic material, au­dio equipment and cameras. Initially charged with several felonies —including the sexual assault of the boy whom he had videotaped — Kocis was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge when prosecutors realized that the boy had lied about his age. With the exception of the sex tape Kocis made, prosecutors were forced to return every item they had seized from him, including 600 porn videos. Placed on probation for a year, Kocis served no jail time.

His secret, however, was out. Neighbors in Dallas Township turned on him, scorning him as a pedophile. Kocis, in turn, spurned the very people he had befriended for so many years. He took to coming and going quietly, wearing the same uniform: jeans, baseball cap and sunglasses. “It changed him,” says Nancy Parsons, one of his best friends in the neighborhood. “It made him more reclusive because he was unsure how people felt about him.” Then Kocis discovered Sean Lockhart, and his fortunes took a turn for the better.

In February 2004, nine months before his eighteenth birthday, Sean began shooting movies for Kocis, performing alone and with other models. Under two contracts he signed with the director, Lockhart was to receive an unspecified amount for each action scene he shot. In addition, he would be given a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta, a set of four rims and tires, insurance premiums worth $2,100, a cell-phone plan and an unspecified signing bonus. To a teenager living on the edge, this was significant money. Lock­hart chose a stage name — Brent Corrigan — by flipping through a telephone book on a shoot in Florida.

“I could easily disappear for four days, for a shoot, and lie to my mother about where I was going,” Lockhart says. “I was in it alone.” In an online col­umn he wrote later for a gay-porn gossip site, Sean said, “I promised myself I would do the work to get what I needed and then turn my back on it. I was still somewhat ashamed of my homosexuality, let alone having participated in gay porn.”

Despite Lockhart’s misgivings, Brent Corrigan became a star. DVDs featur­ing him sold briskly at sixty dollars per copy, as did online downloads at eight cents a minute. Corrigan was awarded a “Best Overall” prize by the Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network —— an acrylic trophy with a black base that today gathers dust in Lockhart’s bedroom. “I felt like a sexual icon,” he says. He gained even more notoriety when Schoolboy Crush and three other Cor­rigan titles were pulled from store shelves and Internet sites after it became clear that Lockhart had been underage during their production. The scandal earned Lockhart a nickname —— “the Traci Lords of gay porn” —— and gave him something rare in the industry: name recognition beyond the market of men who purchased his videos.

The way Kocis filmed the movies also fueled Lockhart’s appeal. From his days as a biomedical photographer, Kocis knew lighting and made sure that every Cobra release was free of shadows and dark corners. “He did with his movies what straight-porn directors do, which is to make the sex look pretty,” says Sechrest, the radio host. “Cobra’s movies weren’t just erotic; they were also aesthetically pleasing.”

As Cobra’s business took off, Kocis lived large. He bought a fleet of sports cars and some lakeside land, using $384,900 in cash. He enjoyed fine food, vacations in exotic locales and casino gambling. According to Lockhart, Kocis also insisted on having sex during their shoots. “Every time we took a break, Bryan would jump on me,” Sean says. In 2004 Lockhart spent the summer at Midland Drive, drinking banana-flavored schnapps and having group sex. “Bryan would have boys come out, and we’d have threesomes,” Lockhart re­calls. “He used me to attract these boys. There was always alcohol in the house. That summer I spent with him, I drank more than I ever have in my life.”

Lockhart felt trapped. He worried that he would lose his newfound star­dom if he resisted the “old man.” Even worse, he had used a doctored driver’s license to get work with Cobra, and he was terrified of being discovered and going to jail. Kocis knew Sean had nowhere to go, especially after all that bareback work. To keep his meal ticket in line, he promised bigger and bet­ter things. “We’d be more than business partners,” says Lockhart. “We’d be partners in life and run Cobra together, building an online empire, with members-only sites, Webcam boys, everything you could possibly do with porn online.” None of that came to pass. Instead, Lockhart wound up clean­ing the bathroom at 60 Midland Drive and doing other odd jobs around the house for extra cash.

Then one day in August 2004, a woman who lived next door to Kocis ap­proached Lockhart, who was painting Bryan’s house. “How old are you?” she spat, denouncing Kocis as a pedophile and threatening to call the police. Afraid he would be arrested, Lockhart packed up his belongings and headed back to the San Diego suburb of Point Loma, where his mother was living with her latest boyfriend in a crummy one-bedroom apartment. Sean moved in with them and graduated from high school, working for $100 a week at a local Sam Goody. With few job prospects, Lockhart needed cash — and he found it the way he always did.

One night, at a party in the Hillcrest neighborhood, Lockhart looked across the room and saw Grant Roy, a local trucking executive. Like Kocis, Roy had a thing for young boys: At thirty-eight, he was more than twice as old as Lockhart, and, like Kocis, he took both a personal and a busi­ness interest in Sean. Roy, who had seen Corrigan on Cobra’s Web site, was impressed. He invited Lockhart, by then barely eighteen, to move into his house in San Diego, which featured a clifftop pool and hot tub.

Roy, a fan of gay porn who came from a wealthy family in Texas, was looking for a way into the industry. “Grant likes to feel like Daddy to young porn stars,” says Lee Bergeron, a San Diego businessman who dated Lockhart briefly in 2005. “He likes to boss boys around and yell at them.” Some in the industry recall Roy screaming at directors and actors. “Nobody wants to work with him,” says a former business partner.

Roy and Lockhart eventually became lovers. Together, they hatched a plan. They wanted Brent Corrigan, porn star, to become Sean Lockhart, wealthy entrepreneur and owner of the Corrigan brand. They knew that Lockhart was running out of time to capitalize on his image as a”twink.”

To take control of Lockhart’s career, the couple would have to find a way to cut Bryan Kocis loose. They set up a Web site to promote Lockhart and formed a new porn company with money from Lee Bergeron. Kocis sued, charging Lockhart with trademark infringement, claiming to own the Brent Corrigan name. In a countersuit, Lockhart alleged that Kocis had engaged in fraudulent business practices, which left him in emotional distress.

The lawsuit created further difficulties for Lockhart, who had left Cobra to film The Velvet Mafia with Falcon Studios, the MGM of gay porn. It was the biggest-budget porn film he’d ever done, and Falcon had agreed to pay him $10,000 for his two sex scenes — far above the industry standard. But as soon as legal threats arrived from Kocis, Falcon refused to bill Lockhart as Brent Corrigan, calling him Fox Ryder instead.

A few years earlier, Lockhart would have meekly accepted the studio’s de­cision. Now, intoxicated by his own fame, Sean fought back. “The kid had a complete arrogance about him,” says Erik Rhodes, Lockhart’s co-star and sex partner in The Velvet Mafia. “He assumed that doing underage porn had made him a star, and on the set he walked around like he was King Shit.” When Rhodes attempted to help Lockhart with his lines, Sean waved him away. “I don’t need your help,” he sniffed. “I have my own company.”

When Falcon refused to bill him as Brent Corrigan, Lockhart reacted by trashing the mainstream studios. “All studios are the same at the core,” he wrote in an online post. “Some might be more professional. Some might pay more. Some might have cuter models. But ALL care about no one but themselves. They ALL use the models in the same way: as meat. As TOOLS or PAWNS.” Roy upped the ante, leaving angry messages on the voice mail of director Chris Steele.

Even more disturbing, in retrospect, was the plot of The Velvet Mafia. Lock­hart plays Fox Ryder, a good-looking young man from the sticks who is “dis­covered” by Warren Starr, an infamous gay-porn producer. Guided by Starr, Ryder becomes an overnight sensation, only to be lured away by a competing producer, Mason Avalon. Gunfire and a homicide ensue. At the time, nobody in the industry assumed that the plotline in any way mirrored Lockhart’s feud with Kocis, or how it would end.

Around the same time Lockhart was filming this revenge fantasy, his fellow actor Caleb Carter had some curious conversations with the star and his lover at their home. According to Carter, the two were frustrated that Bryan Kocis continued to want control over the Corrigan brand. “Maybe we should hire a cleaner” — a hit man — Carter recalls Roy saying. To Carter, the statement sounded like a joke — but Lockhart’s response struck him as odd. “Grant,” Sean said, “don’t talk about things like that with people we barely know.” (Roy and Lockhart deny the exchange took place.) In a blog Roy created, he gave himself a chilling nickname: “the Cobra Killer.”

A few months before Bryan Kocis was murdered, Grant Roy was trolling for models online one afternoon when he came across a picture of a buff young man with short dark hair and a large penis. Harlow Cuadra was a Navy veteran who made his living as a male escort in the military town of Virginia Beach. The job had never been his first choice for a career. “I am not proud of what I do,” Cuadra wrote in an online post. “The only reason I got into this was because I was discharged from the Navy for my injured back (Afghani­stan, we were chasing bad guys) and needed to make money, and then all of a sudden shit explodes and it becomes very profitable.”

Now Cuadra wanted to move beyond escorting and make even bigger money in online porn. A Brent Corrigan fan, he struck up an e-mail correspond­ence with Lockhart and Roy, which led to talk of forming a porn partnership. Cuadra and his boyfriend, Joseph Kerekes, made plans to meet them on Janu­ary 11th at a gay-porn trade show being held in Las Vegas.

When the foursome sat down for dinner at Le Cirque, in the Bellagio casino, Lockhart and Roy weren’t impressed. “Harlow and Joe were deeply in debt,” Roy claims. “That’s why they wanted to do a deal with us.” Lockhart also viewed Cuadra with disdain. “He was silly and immature,” Lockhart says. “It was clear to me that he was trying hard to project an air of class and wealth.”

The conversation quickly turned to business. Cuadra and Kerekes came on strong, wanting to strike a deal right away. Big numbers were tossed around: Cuadra offered Lockhart $20,000 for their first movie together and $30,000 for the second. “It sounded ridiculous,” Lockhart says. “I didn’t take it seriously.”

Whatever reservations Lockhart and Roy had, everyone at the table knew that there was a major impediment to any deal: Bryan Kocis. As long as Cobra had Lockhart tied up in court, the star could not film under the name Brent Corrigan. For both Lockhart and Cuadra, their fame and future livelihood seemed to hang on a single, middle-aged man back in Pennsylvania. So Cuadra made a proposal that struck both Lockhart and Roy as strange. “What if Bryan left the country?” he asked. “What if he went to Canada?”

Lockhart, drunk on the wine being served with every course, missed the implication of the questions. Kocis, he replied, “would only come back.”

So Kerekes drove home the point. Cuadra, he said, “knows someone who would do anything for him.”

Roy understood exactly what was being suggested. “We don’t need Kocis to leave the country,” he said, changing the subject.

When dinner ended, Lockhart stumbled back to his hotel room and passed out. Neither he nor Roy called police. Within days, their lawsuit with Bryan Kocis was settled. Brent Corrigan was now a free agent —something that Harlow Cuadra and Joe Kerekes apparently never knew.

A day after the trade show ended, according to police, Cuadra used his Discover card to run a $39.95 background check on Bryan Kocis with an online firm. The check turned up the address on Midland Drive. Two days later, on January 22nd, Cuadra created a new e-mail account, dmbottompa@yahoo.com. The first message sent from it went to cobra@cobravideo.com, an account used by Kocis. The sender introduced himself as Danny Moilin and said, “Would like to model:)”

The next day, at 9:44 a.m., surveillance cameras picked up Cuadra and Ker­ekes walking into Superior Pawn and Gun Shop in Virginia Beach. They left with two items, charged to Cuadra’s Visa card: a Sigarms lock-blade folding knife with a serrated edge and a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver with am­munition. After Cuadra rented a silver SUV, Kerekes booked a room for two at the Fox Ridge Inn in Plains Township, Pennsylvania — —eleven miles from Kocis’ house. He prepaid in cash, renting Room 211 for two nights.

The next evening, as Kocis was speaking on the phone to his attorney in California, Danny Moilin arrived. The director said he had to go; he sounded on top of the world. It would be the last time anyone heard from Bryan Kocis. The day after the killing, Sean Lockhart received a phone call from his would-be business partner. “Go to the WNEP Web site,” Cuadra said, referring to the ABC affiliate in nearby Scranton, which was reporting the murder of Bryan Kocis. Lockhart was shocked. Cuadra, for his part, seemed to acknowledge a role in the carnage. “I guess my guy went overboard,” he told Lockhart.

It didn’t take long for the trail to lead police to Cuadra. The cops tracked down a fussy photo of Danny Moilin, which matched the online photo that the Navy vet had posted on his MySpace page. A wit­ness reported seeing a white or silver SUV leaving the crime scene as the fire broke out. And records showed that a prepaid cell phone was used — not far from Cuadra’s home in Virginia Beach — to call Bryan Kocis two days before the murder.

On February 1oth, at 5:53 a.m., a SWAT team busted down the door of the Virginia Beach house where Cuadra and Kerekes lived, and fired a canister of tear gas inside. They needn’t have bothered. Nobody was home. The partners and lovers had vanished. In their haste, they had left behind evidence, includ­ing two Sony digital video cameras with the serial numbers scratched out. The cameras were similar to two that were missing from Kocis’ home. Some­one using Cuadra’s e-mail had consulted an online message board for instruc­tions on how to operate one of the cameras — five days after the murder.

As police closed in on Cuadra and Kerekes, the two used their newfound infamy as suspected killers and arsonists to improve their business prospects. They promoted their start-up film-studio site, boybatter.com, on gay-porn gossip sites that ferociously debated the murder. They even offered Cuadra’s escort clients in Virginia Beach a special brand of role-playing: “Harlow’s not a killer,” Kerekes promised, “but he’ll act like one if you want him to.”

Cuadra and Kerekes also made it a point to keep in touch with their potential business partners. At 10:14 a.m. on March 3rd, Grant Roy received an e-mail: “Hey Grant, it’s Harlow. So when we gonna start filming? U know we had an agreement.” Three minutes later, Roy received a more ominous message: “We all know what u said to us at the AVN in Vegas and we have it on tape recorder and our conversation at Le Cirque is recorded as well. Don’t fuck with us.”

To cement their deal, Cuadra and Kerekes came to San Diego for another meeting. By now, however, Roy and Lockhart were cooperating with the police. They had come under intense suspicion after Kocis was killed, and they wanted to clear their name. So both agreed to wear a wire when they met with Cuadra and Kerekes. “This was our only chance at getting concrete evidence proving we had nothing to do with the death,” says Lockhart. “I was scared shitless, but the meeting wouldn’t have happened without me.” Before the sting, a lead investigator in the case warned Roy, “If you or Sean were in any way involved in this murder, I’ll be coming after you both.”

On April 27th, as a police helicopter whirred nearby, the foursome reunit­ed over lunch at the Crab Catcher restaurant in La Jolla. But it wasn’t until the meal was over and the group walked outside that investigators caught a break. Roy asked Cuadra if Bryan Kocis had felt any pain when he died.

“Don’t worry,” Cuadra said, leaning over to Lockhart. “He went quick.”

The four men agreed to meet again the following day at Black’s Beach, a cloth­ing-optional spot north of San Diego. Cuadra seemed to think that no clothes would mean no wires, promising to tell Lockhart and Roy everything when they were on the beach, nude. Roy once again was outfitted with a wire.

The one-mile hike to the beach, through Torrey Pines State Park, covers steep terrain, and all four men were winded by the time they slipped out of their clothes at the base of a cliff and hit the waves. Together, Lockhart and Cuadra sprinted on the sand; at one point, Harlow hoisted Sean onto his shoulder and carried him toward the waves.

The talk eventually turned to the day Kocis was murdered. This time, Cuadra was more forthcoming. He admitted being present when Bryan died: “He never saw it coming.” Later that afternoon, Cuadra went even further. “Seeing that fucker going down, actually it’s sick, but it made me feel better inside,” he said. “It almost felt like I got revenge, and I know that sounds fucked up.”

On May 15th, four months after the killing, Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes were arrested in Virginia Beach and charged with homicide, robbery and arson. Both have pleaded innocent. “I didn’t do it,” Cuadra said while exit­ing the courtroom. “I didn’t kill that man.” To pay for his defense, Cuadra is selling FREE HARLOW CUADRA  teddy bears, tote bags and thongs online.

Even with telephone and e-mail records in hand, the case against Cuadra and Kerekes is largely circumstantial: Prosecutors have produced no finger­prints or DNA, and a knife found at the murder scene has not been conclusively identified as the murder weapon. Before his attorney silenced him, however, Kerekes conducted a jailhouse interview with the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader in which he admitted that he and Cuadra were in the vicinity of Dallas Township the day of the murder. While Cuadra went to meet with Kocis, Kerekes claimed, he had stayed behind at the Fox Ridge Inn, checking his e-mail.

The three-bedroom house that Lockhart shares with Roy in San Diego sits at the end of a cul-de-sac in a scruffy neighborhood, miles from the sleek nightclubs of Hillcrest. Outside, on a cliff, sunlight-washed water glimmers in a swimming pool and attached hot tub. Below, noisy streams of traffic plow west toward the Pacific Ocean. In the sky above, fighter aircraft on training missions from a nearby airbase add to the din.

And then there’s the commotion inside. Fights between Roy and Lockhart are common: Even during a series of long interviews for this story, Roy fre­quently dresses Lockhart down, his temper volcanic, the veins bulging in his temples. Their venture with Lockhart’s former lover Lee Bergeron has fallen apart; they now advise fans not to join the Web site they started with him, further muddling the Brent Corrigan brand. At 3 a.m. on a recent Saturday night, Roy drove through the alley behind Bergeron’s home in San Diego and shouted from his SUV, “You motherfucker! I’m going to get you!” Afraid for his safety, Bergeron installed security cameras.

Since the murder of Bryan Kocis, Lockhart seems more dependent than ever on Roy. “For three months, all I wanted to do was crawl under a rock, or worse,” Sean says, wiping away tears with his gray T-shirt. “I was a gay-porn star — trash in the eyes of the police, who would find a way to put me away. I considered many different ways of taking my life. I only had Grant to talk to.” By that point, Lockhart’s mother was pretty much out of the picture. “She just doesn’t care,” he says.

To make ends meet, Lockhart works full-time as a salesman at American Apparel, earning $8.50 an hour, and sells his underwear online. A fan in New Zealand recently forked over more than $1,375 for a pair Lockhart wore in The Velvet Mafia, plus a signed copy of Playguy magazine in which Sean appeared.

Even though there is no evidence linking Lockhart to the murder of Kocis, many in the industry are fed up with him. “Sean feels like he has to feign emo­tions,” says Carter, the fellow porn actor. “They come across as being fake, be­cause he doesn’t have any real emotions of his own.” But whatever his reputa­tion, the rise and fall of Sean Lockhart —— from broken home to online icon to underwear salesman in only two years — underscores the hostile and unforgiv­ing nature of the industry. “Gay porn is not short on hot boys,” says Sechrest, the radio host. “There are a hundred Brent Corrigans trying to get into the industry every year. But they’re crazy if they think they’ll become millionaires off of Brent Corrigan. Brent Corrigan hasn’t become a millionaire off of Brent Corrigan.”

In fact, the brand Lockhart built with his body may soon prove to be worth­less. Before he died, Bryan Kocis did everything he could to make sure that his former star would not get rich off the character he created, even setting up yet another Brent Corrigan Web site to flood the online market with free Corrigan content and cheapen the brand. “If Sean’s career isn’t done now, it will be done soon,” says a Kocis associate who worked on the site. “Sean Lockhart thinks he’s smarter than he actually is. He doesn’t understand that as he gets older, he’s getting overexposed. After awhile, people aren’t going to care.”

In This Article: Coverwall

Show Comments

Newswire

Powered by
Close comments

Add a comment