Update 28: I know we are going slowly through Chapter 9, but it is such a gold mine of new information that practically everything in it is comment-worthy.
Take the next section on "The hunt for trace evidence". It's one of the many reasons why any serious student of this case has to buy the book. Tucked at the end is yet another fascinating "Melnick interview with AES" tidbit.
Stop and let the implications of this all wash over you. There was a garbage bag. In this garbage bag was stuffed the Kocis-blood-splattered clothes of the murderer of Bryan Kocis. We know this bag actually exists because some California hotel (this one perhaps, where I ate a BLT 4 years ago?) actually has a record of it.
Now stop and ponder the further implications of this. Who's clothes are in this bag? Could they be Joe's? Unlikely! Joe was the one who told the investigators about it! The same investigators he was trying to sell the story of him being at the Fox Ridge Inn the whole time. If the bag contained Joe's clothes splattered with Kocis' blood, Joe would have N-E-V-E-R tipped them off to it.
So, by process of elimination, whose blood-splatted clothes MUST BE in this garbage bag, currently moldering in some landfill in San Diego? Mmmm hm. Uh huh. Mmmm hm.
Update 27: The sections 'Cuadra details "the plan" for acquittal' and "Answering those nagging questions" both deal with a topic recently brought up in the comments, that being Harlow's obsession with winning the battle for public opinion.
Here we see the 'Free Harlow' t-shirts in court idea that never got off the ground, along with a wealth of other image management tips in a letter to Renee Martin. "Image matters a lot" sayeth Harlow.
Also interesting are his directives to Renee on cleaning up Joe's image, and improving his blog. Yes, commands from Harlow, micromanaging the affairs of Joe. So here we get a clear indication who really wears the pants in this relationship.
Lastly, more of Harlow's personality gets revealed in his prison blog post, a Brent-bashing tour de force where he got an opportunity to call him "pretentious", "bitchy", "bratty" and such a nonentity in the industry that Harlow had actually never heard of him until recently. All within a few short sentences! The book doesn't go into this, but I can tell you the effect his had on the blogs: Harlow's popularity soared to an all time high among BB and all the other Brent-bashers (who were more numerous back then, and vocal even beyond their numbers). They came out and cackled amongst themselves in the comment sections for days in the aftermath of this. It seems to me, this was a calculated ploy by Harlow to curry their favor.
So, why did Harlow think that "image mattered" and was critical to "the plan" for acquittal? I can think of three possible reasons:
1) He may have thought a widespread belief in his innocence in the blogs and in the media would trickle down to the jury pool in northeastern Pennsylvania (this one is, admittedly, far fetched in reality...but who knows what Harlow was thinking?);
2) He may have also needed a good public image for legal defense fundraising purposes (this one is more realistic...these donors are people who would be reading the relevant blogs); and/or
3) He may have been (wishfully) thinking ahead to his life after acquittal. He didn't want just a jury to think that he was innocent, he wanted the world to think he was innocent. In other words, he did not want to become the OJ Simpson of gay porn.
So, it could have been one, some or all of these reasons. I'm guessing probably a bit of all.
Update 26: The three-way calls. Two suspects in custody, recorded talking to themselves coordinating the fake alibis they intend to use. You know, if this were the only evidence offered to a jury, this ALONE would be enough, most likely, to get a conviction.
One other thing I'd point out is, since the nature of the relationship between Harlow and Joe has become such a hot topic in the comments as of late, these three-way calls are a marvelous sources for getting at the truth of that relationship.
The book only gives a few snippets of their interaction.; I've read more detailed accounts in the past, and I can tell you this much: Harlow and Joe bickered during those three way calls on occasion. And here's the thing: Whenever Joe snapped at Harlow, Harlow DID NOT HESITATE to snap right back.
The part quoted in the book, where Harlow is saying "I know, I know, I know...I,I,I know, I know Joe", if you read that part it's full context, Harlow is basically telling Joe to kindly STFU.
Which of course is not the kind of thing you'd expect a dominated wallflower to be saying.
Update 25: After detailing Harlow's failed alibi attempts, PC systematically eviscerates Joe's alibi (of sorts) that he was at the Fox Ridge Inn the whole time. There is simply no doubt Joe was at the murder scene with Harlow (Joe's constant denials, to this day, notwithstanding).
Then we get to Joe's prison buddies. After re-reading this section, I've come to a BIG conclusion: I've decided that the Riggs account is actually the true and accurate account of exactly what happened, of who was where and of who did what on the day of the murder.
Here's the Riggs account of what Joe told him. Pay close attention class, because THIS is undoubtedly how it all really happened:
1) Harlow went into Kocis' home for the appointment, alone
2) Joe waited in the car in the driveway
3) Harlow killed Kocis, alone
4) Harlow came out and got Joe
5) Together they moved Kocis' body to the couch, ransacked the house, and set it on fire. Then fled.
As the book notes, Riggs had only a paltry 7 months left on a sentence for a minor parole violation, so, he had little incentive to elaborately make all this stuff up. In addition, everything he says is in 100% accord with the evidence as we know it...everything fits to a tee. And third, he knew details even the police hadn't found out yet.
And as for Joe, everything he's saying to Riggs is prejudicial to himself, including the admission, that Joe has always DESPERATELY and falsely denied to this day, that he was at the murder scene. So, there is no motive for Joe to by lying to Riggs about this.
This is it folks. Final version, end of story, mystery solved, case closed.
Update 24: Harlow's hunt for an alibi section brings up the mysterious Mitch Hal(l)ford. Re-reading all this brings up two questions in my mind:
1) How many l's are really in his name? The book has it down with one l, but then there's counter-indications such as this. It's been spelled both ways in the Kocisphere in the past, IIRC.
2) Does anyone else find it odd...nay, unbelievable...that a person would be approached to give a fake alibi for someone, thus almost certainly indicating that that someone is as guilty as sin...and then turn around and give that person $70,000 to defend themselves in court? In other words, to donate that much money to a legal defense fund, shouldn't you actually believe that someone to be innocent?
I find it very hard to believe anyone could think someone is innocent after being asked to lie to the police about an alibi for them, and I also find it hard to believe someone would spend $70,000 on someone they had CLEAR SIGNS was indeed guilty.
Update 23: Now we move on to Chapter 9. This is the first of the trial (and pre-trial) parts of the book, which actually takes up about 40% of it.
First up the lawyer roulette section. The moral of the story here is, if you're going to commit a crime in a small rural county, where every lawyer has been in every other lawyer's law firm and/or worked for the same client at one time or the other, make SURE you commit the crime by yourself, with no co-conspirator. Otherwise you're looking for trouble!
The Fannick controversy is covered here in detail, in which it was claimed attorney Demetrius Fannick met with Joe eight times in prison and except for talking about fees, never once discussed the case with him. You can view my dramatic recreation of those conversations here.
And the book has an interesting new revelation about the incident, duly footnoted as "Kerekes interview with AES, 7-2-09":
"Kerekes would later contradict himself again, admitting in a state prison interview that he lied in court, and that his discussions with Fannick went far beyond the fee structure."
In other words, Joe is now admitting to committing an act of perjury. I guess we know now why Fannick did not testify under oath on the matter (as if we didn't know already). It also brings up an interesting contemporary issue: If Joe committed perjury, and we assume he did so at Fannick's behest, well, let's just say this is something the Luzerne County DA and/or state bar of Pennsylvania may now wish to take an interest in.