Lack of evidence, ignored leads and reasonable doubt were key themes for the jury to consider from the defense team of Terence Kindlon and Laurie Shanks, as they put the finishing touches on their case in the murder trial of Christopher Porco.
Both the prosecution and defense delivered their closing arguments on Wednesday, Aug. 9, to a packed courtroom of family members and friends of the defendant. Many members of the media, including CBS Mystery 48 Hours, and a host of Albany and Delmar residents came to Goshen in Orange County, including Bethlehem Police Chief Lou Corsi and Albany County District Attorney David Soares. Another 50 people waited outside the courtroom to observe summations, each holding a slip of paper with a number on it to be allowed inside by court officers.
All of us want to feel safe that killers are not in our neighborhood, began Shanks, who presented the defense summation. "The danger is, sometimes the desire for closure can overcome other more important considerations."
The defendant, who is on trial for murdering his father, Peter Porco, and attempting to murder his mother, Joan Porco, watched his lawyer closely as her presentation began.
"It is up to you to figure out whether the theory police officers had in this case was tested," Shanks said. "Did they (the police) look for evidence that did not support their theory?"
Shanks said the murder of Peter Porco and the attack on Joan Porco is a horrible crime, the likes of which a community the size of Delmar has never seen.
Appellate Court Officer Michael Hart, a witness, was pointed out by Shanks as someone with the professionalism and experience to observe a crime scene he first thought was a struggle, but later realized it was not.
"He was not stubborn and resistant to change his opinion," said Shanks, unlike other police officers who arrived at 36 Brockley Drive in Delmar on Nov. 15, 2004, shortly after the crime.