Goshen When Third Appellate Division Court Officer Captain Michael Hart drove up the driveway of 36 Brockley Drive in Delmar on a sunny November morning in 2004, he had no idea from looking at the peaceful, pristine outside of the Porco family home, what deadly carnage lay quietly inside.
Hart told the jury which will decide if 22-year-old Christopher Porco is guilty of murdering his father and the attempted murder of his mother, that he was asked by Judge Anthony Cardona's chief of security Frank Costello to see why law clerk and friend Peter Porco was late for work. It was 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2004 and neither Costello nor Cardona received any calls from Porco indicating he was sick or that he would be late for work.
It wasn't like him not to call, Hart said.
When court officials tried to contact the home there was no answer. At one point, Julie Cannizzaro, a friend of the Porco family and Judge Cardona's administrative assistant, offered to drive to the home but Costello said it would be safer if Court Officer Hart drove to 36 Brockley Drive instead.
"I arrived at 11:25 a.m. and there were no cars in the driveway," Hart said. He then tried to contact Peter Porco two separate times on his cell phone while outside the home to see if anyone was inside. Jurors were shown a photo of the home that morning, revealing sun shining through bare November trees on a cool crisp morning in a quiet suburban neighborhood.
"No one answered the phone," said Hart.
"Were you able to hear the phone ring?" asked Albany County Assistant District Attorney Michael McDermott.
"No, sir," Hart answered.
"I saw a single key inside the front door lock with two or three rubber bands tied around it," said Hart. "There was a red smear on the doorknob and two or three drops of blood on the front porch."