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A murder trial's silent witness: the unmistakable yellow Jeep

Photos from the 2006 Christopher Porco murder Trial. The trial was moved from Albany County to the Orange County town of Goshen.

Photos from the 2006 Christopher Porco murder Trial. The trial was moved from Albany County to the Orange County town of Goshen. Phil Kamrass/ Pool Photo

— Russell, a toll collector stationed at exit 24 in Albany, said she remembered Porco's yellow Jeep driving fast right into her lane at 1:51 a.m. Nov. 15, 2004.

"The speed he was coming into my lane was excessive," Russell testified

Porco's Jeep was also identified by University of Rochester surveillance cameras leaving the campus the Sunday night before the crime and driving back through around 8:30 a.m. the next morning.

Jurors took special interest in the testimony of former Brockley Drive resident Marshall Gokey. Gokey was the prosecution's last witness, and he testified that he saw Porco's Jeep in the driveway of the Porco family's home at about 3:45 a.m., around the time the crime is suspected of being committed.

"I can see it pulling up in that driveway," Gokey said, "It's the same vehicle."

Many court observers wondered how someone could remember seeing a car in the dark when driving to work.

"Gokey said that Jeep had been terrorizing the neighborhood," said chief prosecutor Michael McDermott.

Assistant District attorney David Rossi, who tried the case with McDermott, said Gokey came to authorities the day after the crime to tell them what he saw.

"At the time, he didn't know anything about the timeline," said Rossi.

McDermott first believed Porco's defense team of Terence Kindlon and Laurie Shanks would attack Gokey's testimony until jurors heard him testify.

"The defense, in mid-stream, changed strategy because they could see the jury liked this guy," said McDermott.

A few days later the jury came back with a guilty verdict, and the yellow Jeep was once again in the spotlight as photographers took pictures of it as it sat in an empty parking lot outside the Orange County Courthouse, taking in the last rays of Goshen sunlight.

Porco is now in the Albany County Jail awaiting sentencing.

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