It was perhaps the most highly publicized murder case the Capital Region has ever seen. In fact, there was so much media attention, that the trial was moved out of Albany County.
Well, it has been one year now since an Orange County jury found Christopher Porco guilty of murdering his father, Peter Porco, and trying to murder his mother, Joan Porco, with an axe. Jurors heard seven weeks of testimony from more than 80 witnesses – but it took them just six hours to find the Delmar native guilty.
And now, one year later, NEWS10's Jeff Stoecker sits down with attorneys from both sides, to talk about the appeal, the defendant, and what happens next.
One year later, defense attorney Terry Kindlon is still working on an appeal. And the center of that appeal: the head nods Joan Porco gave to a police detective as she lay bleeding from massive injuries, indicating it was her son that attacked her.
“Joan Porco was, in effect, an unavailable witness,” Kindlon says. “If you have no recollection, if your memory has been erased, then you might just as well be dead, you might just as well be unavailable.”
But lead prosecutor and former chief assistant district attorney Michael McDermott claims, “at that point in time she was aware, she was alert, she was meaningfully communicating – and it was a communication of significance, rather than a random nod of the head.”
Christopher Porco is serving his 50 years-to-life sentence at Dannemora State Prison, near Plattsburgh.
“It's not a happy place, it's a place where you do the best you can,” says Kindlon. “And he's doing the best he can, which in Christopher's case, is pretty well.”
Joan Porco now lives in Rochester near family. She still visits her son in prison, and maintains he is innocent. Porco's attorneys say they talk about once a month on the phone, keeping him apprised of his appeal as he waits in prison.
“I have every confidence in Chris Horn and the D.A.'s Appellate Unit, and I think the case will survive Appellate scrutiny,” says McDermott.
Kindlon expects to complete the appeal within the next two months, meaning it will not likely be heard until sometime in 2008.