Cobra Killer (Review)

This past week the long-awaited CobraKiller book by authors Andrew E. Stoner and Peter A. Conway was released on Amazon,, Barnes and Noble and other book sellers. What follows today is my review of this True Crime story and some background on the back-story that played out online nearly 6 years ago.

This blogger was certainly a part of this saga so I do not claim any objectivity here except what time itself has afforded me in cooling the passions and acrimony we witnessed during that time.

first the background..

Five years ago this past January Bryan Kocis the 43 year old producer/owner of the Twink Gay Porn Studio Cobra Video was brutally murdered. I vividly recall where I was when Albert (my very close friend in Texas) called me the next day and with an urgent tone told me to check out the Pennsylvania News reports for Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

I had a dull sinking feeling as I read the reports, what we who had followed the increasingly bitter and nasty Cobra War between the studio and its prime Star Brent Corrigan feared most is that someone would end up dead. Far-fetched? Not at all this year and a half legal battle and public relations nightmare was Gay Porn’s first white hot controversy.

Twink Pornstar Brent Corrigan claimed in September 2005 he was 17 when he filmed his first three DVD’s making those videos contraband and child pornography! Studio owner Bryan Kocis responds Brent is just trying to break his recently signed Exclusive contract with a made up story about under-age porn!

He said / He Said (according to Jason Sechrest)with one a 43 year old overweight producer (cue hisses from fans) and the other an 18 year old beguiling Brunette Twink who batted his eyes and sashayed that “Star” tattooed ass while grown men swooned.(this blogger included)

The murder of Bryan Kocis on January 24th 2007 was not the end of this internet public relations battle played on a blog and social forum field. This was just the mid-point, in the days and weeks to come, Gay Porn would be consumed with the idea this was either a mob hit or darling Mr.Corrigan and his Producer Boyfriend Grant Roy might have been involved in a wider conspiracy to assassinate their arch-nemesis Bryan Kocis.

Of course online speculation is just that and in the end the only thing that mattered as Joe Friday used to say is “just the facts ma’am” and what can and will be proved in a Court of Law.

The facts quite simply are one Harlow Cuadra erstwhile pornstar and escort was convicted in March 2009 for the murder of Bryan Kocis. This followed after his partner and co-conspirator Joseph Kerekes pled out to murder late in 2008.

The first complete and comprehensive telling of this whole sordid true crime story is to be found in Cobra Killer the new book by Andrew E. Stoner and Peter A. Conway released this past week.

Peter Conway was uniquely placed to observe and compile a books worth of information on this Cobra Killer story due to happenstance geography (he lived in Norfolk Virginia in the same apartment tower as Joe and Harlow) and a working knowledge of the gay porn industry.

Many partisans on both sides, and those lines were clearly demarcated, created competing blogs to cover the murder investigation in early 2007. The controversy online was overwhelming Gay Porn blogger Jason Sechrest and the various social forums like Juicy Goo that after 18 months were beginning to experience Brent Corrigan fatigue!

I was the second blogger to go online in March 2007 just scant weeks after Elmysterio and there lay a huge problem of credibility in that time period Elm was perceived as supporting Harlow and Joe’s innocence while I was most definitely in the Brent Corrigan camp.

Two blogs came into existence almost simultaneously. Jims Chinchilla Blog (named in honor of the obscenely overpriced fur coat purchased by Kerekes and Cuadra) and PC’s Blog ,Harlow and Joe ( which went thru several name changes)

Jim’s blog tended to be more partisan and engaged in what I called color commentary while PC strove early on to be even handed and indeed journalistic in his standards.

That summer I decided to take my blog in an adult direction and move on from the Brent Corrigan story while I remained very much engaged we all gravitated to PC and Jim’s venues for the duration.

I think we all knew early on this multi-year saga would one day become a book. And I think there was never any doubt Peter Conway would be  the one to write this book.

Cobra Killer;GayPorn Murder and the Manhunt to Bring the Killers to Justice is a long and somewhat lurid title (obviously marketing hype) for a book that turns out to be a compelling and straight-forward account of the investigation and legal drama that led to the conviction of Harlow Cuadra.

The authors know the milieu here, Stoner is a newspaper man and Peter Conway probably has more encyclopedic detail on this story than anyone.

The challenge here for the writers was to take a story from voluminous trial and investigation notes,sources and transcripts and wrap this into a narrative. One that would satisfy those of us with ample knowledge of the story and the many readers who would be approaching this tale from nonchalant indifference. Then you have “Gay Porn” ,Pornstars,Porn Producers a certainly salacious set of subject’s for most of the expected readership.

No worries Stoner and Conway will satisfy both sets of readers with a well written, methodical but layered narrative that skips back in time at opportune points to fill in the uninitiated on the backgrounds of all the main cast of characters. The Producer Bryan Kocis,The Pornstar Brent Corrigan, his then boyfriend Grant Roy, the convicted killer’s Harlow Cuadra and Joe Kerekes are all covered fairly and objectively with new insights into all the major players.

What satisfied me the most were some of the small unexpected insights into the truly minor characters in this murder story. I was also impressed that CobraKiller made me re-consider my own bias and prejudices against people I had a decided antipathy for back in 2007 like Cobra Assistant and Kocis friend Robert Wagner and the Kocis family.

How did this come about?

Cobrakiller manages to bring some humanity to a person (the murder victim) we all felt was a somewhat loathsome character without sugar-coating Bryan Koics or whitewashing his faults. The book simply points out a truth,Bryan Kocis was a Gay Pornographer yes, but his family lost a son and a brother to a vicious brutal murder.  A horrific bloody killing perpetuated by two calculating conspirators who really did not care who Bryan Kocis was only that he was a perceived rival and impediment to their dreams of monetary salvation.

At the end of Cobra Killer you will appreciate the true wreckage that comes from the crime of murder. The ongoing loss that three family’s will suffer the rest of their lives. While you may not think the killers family’s warrant sympathy they do you would not wish this nightmare on anyone.

I highly Recommend Cobra Killer – this is the book we all wanted to read!

6 Comments

  1. Was on a plane from NY to Boston on Friday. This fairly short dark haired fellow sits down next to me. Looks very familiar. Voice sounds familiar. So I asked him, what do you do? He says he’s an actor. Yes I guess you are. I decide to give him his privacy. What’s he supposed to say, “I’m a famous porn star.” Interesting, No one seems to recognize him. I would have thought he would have caused more of a stir.

    I can’t wait to read this book.

  2. Excellent review Dewayne. Thank you for the insight. If I didn’t have a stalker in my life right now, I would read the book. I have hard enough time sleeping as it is. Just very thankful that Brent Corrigan has been totally exonerated. Best always 🙂

  3. Your review is an objective one.

    I do not know of the co-author, Stoner, but he seems to be a reporter of solid standing. I am guessing that he toned up the timeline and brought a neutral, reporter’s tone to the murder account, apprehension, and trial.

    As for Peter Conway who used PC as his blog identity, I will not be so kind. He baited other bloggers for confrontations and has skeletons in his closet. I am not sure where Robert Wagner stood in all this. Definitely, part of his role was Kocis’ righthand man. He was also a cleanup crew to help Kocis look better in death, reputation-wise, than the pornographer had in life.

    There was a woman who attempted to middleman and sheep dip Harlow and Joe under the guise of property agent. One screen name was Penelope. She was a piece of work and fed information. She had a date with destiny, the prosecuting attorney in the Kocis murder, and got her wings clipped.

    The reality is Sean Lockhart’s life changed dramatically. His boyfriend and business partner at the time of the murder, Grant Roy, parted company, probably from the stress of it all. Near monetary ruin for Sean was another reality, not to mention the staining of his reputation as a person and performer. This Sean overcame in spades.

    Very few bloggers stuck around for long and in Sean’s corner. You were one. Your friend. Jim another. Myself.

    Two events in the blogs come to mind. One surreal encounter with Wagner’s blog persona in which he appeared on the verge to give up some information that ole DK disrupted. Another had to do with the novelist.

    One thing is very clear. Conway had Stoner to report on the murder trial for him because he may not have been welcomed by the prosecutor.

  4. Hi you might want to check out http://silenceofthechinchillas.blogspot.com/2013/03/victory-day-2013.html there has been the yearly confab going on 😉

  5. Will do. Check your email.

  6. The book is light on several subjects. The Kocis sisters, Melody and the unnamed one. Melody is transformed in this tome into nearly a suburban housewife. She actually acted as Cobra LLC’s treasurer. The unnamed sister broke contact with Kocis after he founded his porn business.

    Robert Wagner who used Aaron Phelps as stage name was no longer in front of the camera. This was not at all clear in the book. He’s made to be an 20 something who graciously offered to house sit for his friend who just happened to be his boss. Out of the goodness of his heart, Wagner decided to tidy the Cobra 2257 files. So comfy, so middle class, so much bullshit. Wagner sometimes worked as 2d camera; he vetted models, he edited film, babysat new models, picked them up, explained the rules, and even kept them in line.
    This book implies that the house sitting was a weekend job. Not so, he was there for a week and did not leave until sometime after Kocis returned home.

    Renee Martin who claimed to be Harlow and Joe’s office manager doesn’t get much play either.

    This book is rather weak in substance. Connections between main people are left vaugue.

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