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Police seeking driver of SUV

Published: Saturday, January 27, 2007
Updated: Saturday, January 27, 2007 1:00 AM EST
DALLAS TOWNSHIP — Investigators continued to search for clues Friday at the burned-out house where a man was murdered two days earlier, and a reward was pledged for information that leads to an arrest.

Police said they want to question the driver of a sport utility vehicle neighbors saw driving near Bryan Charles Kocis’ house at 60 Midland Drive shortly before what authorities say was a deliberately set fire burned the house.

Mr. Kocis’ body was pulled from the house Wednesday night, and early Thursday investigators determined he had been stabbed to death before the fire was set.

The 44-year-old Mr. Kocis operated a pornographic film enterprise from the house since 2001. Police said they are pressing to see if there’s a connection between the business and the murder, but also made it clear the crime was not random.

“We’re continuing to investigate aggressively,” said Carol Crane, spokeswoman for Luzerne County District Attorney Dave Lupas.

Mr. Lupas was unavailable to answer questions about the case, she said.

Regarding the SUV, the driver “may be a potential witness or may have information needed by investigators,” state police at Wyoming said Friday.

Witnesses who saw the SUV were only able to describe it as “light-colored,” police said.

A possible motive for the crime has not been released, and police did not say if they had any suspects.

No one has been arrested.

Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers on Friday announced it was offering a reward up to $2,000 for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the murder.

The night of Mr. Kocis’ death, he was expecting one of his adult-film actors at his home, John Yates, a California attorney representing one of Mr. Kocis’ former performers, Sean Lockhart, said Thursday.

Mr. Yates said police are trying to locate that man.

Mr. Kocis and Mr. Lockhart have been embroiled in a bitter legal dispute since parting ways in 2005, said Mr. Yates, who also represents another man named in a suit Mr. Kocis filed in federal court.

Police have interviewed or plan to interview several of his clients, including Mr. Lockhart, Mr. Yates said Friday.

“Various law enforcement officers have been in touch with me,” he said. “My clients are fully cooperating with police.”

Mr. Kocis lived alone in a two-story, single-family home where he produced adult videos distributed under the name “Cobra Video.”

As the vehicles of local and state police moved in and out of the area throughout Friday, neighbors continued to express surprise over the unusual crime committed in their quiet, residential neighborhood.

“We’re not used to all the commotion around here,” said Michelle Bryant, a mother of three who lives a short distance from Mr. Kocis’ house.

Around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, fire crews were dispatched to Mr. Kocis’ home. Officials found a badly charred body inside. During an autopsy Thursday morning, Luzerne County Coroner Dr. Jack Consalvo discovered Mr. Kocis’ was stabbed in the torso and neck multiple times.

Dr. Consalvo ruled Mr. Kocis died from the stabbing and not the fire. It was unknown when he was murdered.

Anyone with information about the murder is urged to contact Dallas Township police at 674-2000 or state police at Wyoming at 697-2000.

Nichole Dobo and Wade Malcolm, staff writers, contributed to this report.

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2001, unknown month: Bryan Charles Kocis establishes Cobra Video and operates the gay pornographic film enterprise out of his home on Midland Drive, Dallas Township. The DVD/video films Mr. Kocis distributes primarily star young-looking men.

July 2001: Mr. Kocis is charged with alleged rape and sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy whom he met on the Internet. He recorded video of their sex session that occurred at his home. Police seize equipment from his studio. He was hit with a host of charges, including rape, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

April 2002: Prosecutors drop most charges against Mr. Kocis after believing Mr. Kocis’ claims he didn’t know how old the boy was because the teen lied about his age. Mr. Kocis pleads guilty to sexual abuse of children, a charge later revised to corruption of minors. He serves one year probation.

2004: Mr. Kocis produces first adult films with client, Sean Lockhart, (aka Brent Corrigan), who becomes the featured star on Mr. Kocis’ Web site.

September 2005: Mr. Lockhart’s attorney claims Mr. Lockhart was underage when he began working for Mr. Kocis. Mr. Kocis responds he was given legal identification proving Mr. Lockhart was of legal age.

February 2006: Mr. Kocis sues Mr. Lockhart for breach of contract and related charges regarding an allegedly breached business agreement.

January 2007: Mr. Kocis and Mr. Lockhart reach a tentative settlement through their attorneys that would put them in a joint business venture. The settlement was to be mailed to him Jan. 25.

Jan. 24, 2007: Mr. Kocis is found dead after a fire at his home. The coroner rules he was stabbed to death before the fire was set.

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