Misinformation surrounding the investigation into the murder of 52-year-old Peter Porco and the attack on his wife, 54-year-old Joan Porco, continues to permeate the media, according to town and law enforcement officials.
The condition of Joan Porco improved enough for her to move out of the Intensive Care Unit at an Albany hospital, where she has been since admission on Nov. 15, to Sunnyview Rehabilitation Center, according to town Supervisor Theresa Egan. It is not clear whether there is a police presence at Sunnyview; there was a consistent police presence for the duration of Joan Porco’s stay in ICU.
Egan said Joan Porco is conscious.
There’s some movement. She’s moving around; I wouldn’t say she’s walking. She’s traversing upright, Egan said.
The Porco’s were discovered in their 36 Brockley Drive home on a Monday morning, about a month ago, when Peter Porco failed to show for work at the State Appellate Court, where he served as Judge Anthony Cardona’s law clerk. A court officer discovered Joan Porco upstairs from her deceased husband, with trauma to her body and head. Joan Porco was alert before she was taken by ambulance to the hospital, according to police, though it is unclear what, if anything, she said.
The Albany County District Attorney’s office presented for the second week in a row, evidence into the investigation into Peter Porco’s murder to a grand jury.
After Friday’s session, an article in the Times Union ran in Saturday’s edition alleging that the Porco’s youngest son, 21-year-old Chris Porco, who is a student at the University of Rochester, was the focus of an Albany County Sheriff’s Department gambling probe.
Last week, Bethlehem Police Chief Lou Corsi, said a number of other law enforcement agencies were assisting the department in its investigation, including the State Police, which had been helping since the onset of the investigation, though he didn’t want to name any agencies specifically.
Inspector John Burke, of the Albany County Sheriff’s Department Drug Interdiction Unit, said his unit was not assisting the Bethlehem Police Department the way the story described.
`I never said anything like that. I don’t know where he got that. It’s totally ludicrous,` Burke said of the story that Chris Porco was the focus of a gambling investigation. `There is nothing there that puts Chris (in an investigation like that.)`
Burke said it’s not uncommon for his unit to assist the Bethlehem Police Department in crime investigations.
`Believe me, if we had anything to give (the Bethlehem Police Department), we would’ve given it to them already. We just don’t have anything.`
Burke said Chris Porco has never been the focus of an investigation by his office.
Chris Porco and his 23-year-old brother, Johnathan Porco, who is in the navy, were called persons of interest since the beginning of the investigation. Both were interviewed by police. Chris Porco’s Jeep Wrangler was seized by police for processing after they traveled to Rochester the day of the discovery of Peter Porco’s body. Police continue to hold the vehicle.
Bethlehem Police have never publicly called Chris Porco a suspect in the attack on his parents, though Corsi has noted that Chris Porco `got a lot of attention from the media because of the jeep.`
Reports that the Bethlehem Police Department has turned down offers of help from the Major Crimes Unit of the State Police were also false, Corsi, Egan and Lt. Thomas Heffernan have said.
State Police Maureen Tuffey said the State Police have been assisting the town since beginning of the investigation with their Forensics Unit. While Tuffey said the Major Crimes Unit is assisting the Bethlehem Police Department, which she said, is not uncommon is cases of this magnitude, she couldn’t say for how long.
Last Thursday, Egan said misinformation in the media has been common from the onset of the investigation.
`Half of what you’re reading about is wrong,` Egan said, relaying what she’s been telling residents, `but I can’t tell you which half because then you would know which way the investigation is going.`
Egan said she’s offered residents of that neighborhood chances to talk to `share what I can, which isn’t a lot.`
The night before, Egan and Republican Councilman Thomas Marcelle, who both knew the Porco family personally, seized an opportunity at the town board meeting, the first since the attacks, to support the Bethlehem Police Department’s investigation.
`This isn’t something that can happen overnight. It’s not Law and Order, it’s not CSI,` Egan said. `We want an arrest, but we want it of the right person.“