ALBANY So much for having to screen over 800 Albany County residents for potential jury selection in the Christopher Porco murder trial.
The Third Appellate District in Brooklyn has ordered the trial be moved to the Orange County town of Goshen, about two hours from the Capital District.
"I feel the Appellate Division made a very intelligent decision," said Judge Jeffrey Berry to the members of Albany County District Attorney's office and the defense team, who were present in Albany County Court on Thursday, June 15, the last day of pre-trial proceedings. Christopher Porco is charged with the murder of his father and the attempted murder of his mother.
"I was wondering if we would ever get a judge here," said Berry, who believes it will be no problem selecting people from Orange County to sit on the jury. "I may still do a pre-screening process, but I don't think anybody in this county knows about this case." Berry believes he will only have to pre-screen 50 to 60 potential jurors when jury selection begins June 26.
It is Berry's opinion that the trial should not last longer than three or four weeks; however, if Thursday's court proceedings are anything like the upcoming trial, it could take much longer.
"We have about 135 witnesses, and I do plan on calling a majority of them," said assistant district attorney and chief prosecutor in the Porco case, Michael McDermott. "I would ask the court to modify the trial date so we can present an effective trial."
Local witnesses will now have to travel to Orange County, and the county will have to provide travel expenses and accommodations. Eight staff members in the Albany County D.A.'s office will be moving to Orange County temporarily to handle the case. Both the defense team led by Terrence Kindlon and Laurie Shanks and the prosecution team led by McDermott and Assistant D.A. David Rossi will have to find office space for headquarters and accommodations for the duration of the trial. Expenses for Albany County are expected to total $300,000.