BETHLEHEM A yellow Jeep Wrangler owned by Christopher Porco was spotted by neighbors racing through the Brockley Drive neighborhood months before a brutal ax attack left Peter Porco dead and his wife, Joan, severely injured. The same yellow Jeep was observed by toll collectors before and after the crime, and a neighbor said he saw it in the family driveway the morning of the Nov. 15, 2004, attacks.
Was the yellow Jeep that Porco purchased in the spring of 2004 the beginning of his undoing?
"It sure didn't help," said detective Christopher Bowdish, one of the first Bethlehem police officers at the scene of the Brockley Drive attacks.
Porco purchased the yellow Jeep Wrangler after he electronically forged his father's signature on a $17,000 loan. Even after his father discovered his deception in purchasing the vehicle, and even after he fell behind on payments, Porco continued to drive the conspicuous vehicle. He drove it the night of the crime right up until Aug. 10, when a jury found him guilty of murdering his father and attempting to murder his mother.
"This is my car, why should I stop driving it," were the words Bethlehem Police Chief Lou Corsi said describing Porco's attitude about the car.
During Porco's murder trial, Thruway toll collectors John Fallon and Karen Russell both testified they remembered a yellow Jeep for completely different reasons.
"I remember a yellow Jeep that came through at 10:45 p.m. right before quitting time," said Fallon, who worked the exit 46 Henrietta tolls the night of Nov. 14, 2004. Fallon told jurors he purchased Jeeps for both his wife and son, and he is a fan of the unique looking vehicles.
"As the vehicle got closer, I thought it would be a good vehicle for my son," Fallon testified on July 10.