Jury selection begins this week in the murder trial of 22-year-old Christopher Porco.
Porco is accused of killing his father Peter Porco at his Brockley Drive home with an ax in the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 2004. Peter Porco was found lying dead on the inside front stairs of the home.
His mother Joan Porco was found by Bethlehem Police lying in a pool of blood on her bed with the ax handle used to murder her husband sticking out of the bed comforter.
Defense Attorney Terrence Kindlon said in most murder trials jury selection would take no longer than one to three days. In the Porco murder trial, Judge Jeffrey Berry of Orange County is allotting up to 10 days for a jury to be selected. Jury selection begins Thursday, June 15, and could last until June 26.
Kindlon believes it will be next to impossible to find a jury in Albany County who does not have an opinion or who hasn’t been ‘tainted’ by all the media attention surrounding the murder. With that in mind, Kindlon filed a motion last week to have the trial moved to another county. That motion is expected to be reviewed this week in the 2nd Judicial Department of the State Supreme Court Appellate Division in Brooklyn. Peter Porco worked as a law clerk for the 3rd Department of the Appellate Division. Kindlon believes the most logical place to change the venue for the Porco murder trial would be Orange County where Judge Berry lives. But Albany County District Attorney David Soares said there shouldn’t be a problem finding a jury in Albany County that is not biased.
Meanwhile, Judge Jeffrey Berry has yet to rule on key pieces of evidence submitted during pre-trial hearings last month. That evidence includes a six and a half hour videotape of Bethlehem Police interrogating Christopher Porco inside the squad room of the department on Delaware Avenue, the night following the attacks. During that interview Porco’s mother Joan was in critical condition at Albany Medical Center Hospital recovering from her wounds. John Polster, an attorney and family friend, was waiting in the hallway of the Bethlehem Police Department while Christopher Porco was being questioned. Polster said during pre-trial testimony he was acting as Christopher’s attorney at that time. Christopher Porco told police however Polster was just a friend of the family and not his attorney. Porco denied any involvement in the crime but refused to take a lie detector test when asked by police that evening.
Kindlon believes his client’s rights were violated when Porco was not orally read his Miranda Rights, but instead initialed a statement prior to questioning that advised him of his rights.
Porco is currently out on bail and living with Elaine LaForte and her family in Glenmont. Porco is an employee of Bethlehem Veterinary Hospital owned by LaForte. Prosecutors believe Christopher Porco committed the crimes against his family because he was having financial problems while attending the University of Rochester where he dropped out in 2003 but re-enrolled in 2004. E-mails between Porco and his mother and father prior to the attacks show a very strained relationship. The e-mails made public in other media reports reveal that Christopher Porco was forging his father’s name on loan documents and was delinquent on both his college tuition and car payments on his yellow Jeep Wrangler. It is the Jeep Wrangler that prosecutors believe Porco used to drive from the murder scene on Brockley Drive back to the University of Rochester undetected before police arrived on the crime scene the next morning. The Brockley Drive home was also the scene of two prior burglaries in 2002 and 2003, when computers, and other electronic equipment were stolen, but no arrests were made. After extensive legwork by police and prosecutors, they believe the items stolen from the prior burglaries on Brockley Drive were sold on e-bay, a large online, Internet auction house, and sold by Christopher Porco by using his e-bay online account. Although police took articles of clothing from Christopher Porco the night he was questioned along with fingerprinting him, there is little forensic evidence connecting Christopher Porco to the crime scene. The trial is expected to begin in a matter of weeks.`