Defense calls first witness; Porco godmother takes the stand

Margaret Fennell, godmother of the defendant Christopher Porco, was the first witness for the defense on Wednesday, Aug. 2. Christopher Porco is on trial for the murder of his father, Peter Porco, and attempted murder of his mother, Joan Porco.

Fennell testified that she called Joan Porco's attorney John Polster about one month after the Nov. 15, 2004, murder of Peter Porco and the attack on Joan, to alert him that Joan mentioned seeing a mysterious stranger in the family's driveway on Brockley Drive in Delmar in late September, 2004.

She (Joan Porco) said 'a very scary thing happened to me,' said Fennell on Wednesday. Fennell said Joan Porco told her about the stranger she saw in the driveway one night who disappeared quickly when the motion sensor lights outside 36 Brockley Drive were activated.

Polster then contacted Chief Prosecutor Michael McDermott so he could follow up on the potential lead. Fennell said she relayed her story to two police investigators who were more interested in Christopher Porco.

"They asked me why Chris called me," said Fennell. Joan Porco was still being treated at Albany Medical Center for the severe injuries she received from an assailant who attacked her inside her Brockley Drive home on Nov. 15, 2004 in the middle of the night.

"Chris asked about his mother being moved to Sunnyview," stated Fennell. Sunnyview is a rehabilitation hospital in Schenectady.

"In the 20 months between then and now, did the Bethlehem police department ever come back to your home to ask you these type of questions?" asked Defense Attorney Laurie Shanks.

"No, they did not," said Fennell.

Fennell said she did meet with McDermott at the end of May to discuss the stranger in the driveway.

"Is it fair to say the stranger in the driveway is something Mrs. Porco mentioned once and then never mentioned again?" asked McDermott in his cross examination of the defense witness.

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