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Bethlehem detective testifies; defense likens ax head to horse head

Everything from mobsters to mysterious strangers and a local newspaper headline of a horse head found at the bottom of a pool overshadowed a full day of testimony from Christopher Bowdish, lead detective in the investigation of the murder of Peter Porco and attempted murder of his wife, Joan Porco. Their son Christopher Porco, is on trial for those two crimes committed on Nov. 15, 2004.

Bowdish, a 25-year veteran of Bethlehem's police department, was one of the first officers at the scene on Nov. 15, 2004 when Peter Porco lay dead at the bottom of the inside front stairs of 36 Brockley Drive in Delmar. At that same time, Joan Porco clung to life in the upstairs bedroom where the attacks occurred. Bowdish told jurors how Joan Porco motioned and nodded when asked if her son Christopher committed the ax attacks that murdered her husband Peter and severely injured her.

I first asked her if she could hear, and she nodded up and down several times in the 'yes' indication, said Bowdish.

The detective then asked if any member of the Porco family committed the crime against her and her husband. Bowdish indicated she once again nodded "yes."

"I then asked if Jonathan Porco did this, and she indicated 'no' and nodded up and down 'no,'" said Bowdish.

"I asked, 'did Christopher Porco do this?' and she nodded up and down, indicating 'yes,'" said Bowdish.

Jurors looked intently at Bowdish as he stated he repeated the question to Joan Porco, and she again nodded "yes."

Bowdish said he then apologized to her because he felt sorry for her, and left her bedroom that day as paramedics sedated her.

Much of the jury's day on Wednesday, July 26 was spent hearing Defense Attorney Laurie Shanks cross-examine the lead detective in the case, first questioning his experience as a detective handling homicide cases.

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