Exoneration for both the Bethlehem police department and the Albany County District Attorney’s office came when a guilty plea was handed down by jurors in Orange County Supreme Court against Christopher Porco.
`I had no doubt the truth would be told,` said Bethlehem Police Chief Lou Corsi following the verdict.
Porco was convicted on Thursday, Aug. 10 of two counts of murder and attempted murder for the savage attacks on his father and mother, Peter and Joan Porco that took place on Nov. 15, 2004.
`I think a just verdict was reached,` said Bethlehem Detective
Christopher Bowdish, who testified that Joan Porco nodded `yes` when asked on the day of the crime if Christopher was her assailant.
`We came to a conclusion there was just no other suspect,` Bowdish said.
The local police department received intense scrutiny from the defense team of Terence Kindlon and Laurie Shanks and at times the media and the public. The length of the investigation unnerved many in the Delmar community, and when Judge Jeffrey Berry did not allow a videotaped interrogation of Christopher Porco admitted into the trial, many people felt the case was lost from the very start. However, as the trial began, witness after witness testified they could not locate the whereabouts of Christopher Porco on the night of the crime.
An e-mail between Christopher Porco and his roommate Matt Ambrosio a few weeks after the crime gave police the indication that Porco felt he had outsmarted authorities.
`Did you talk to Bethlehem cops,` asked Ambrosio to Porco in the e-mail exchange.
`They are morons,` Porco answered back.
`I think he really perceived the Bethlehem police department as some bumbling operation,` said Corsi late Thursday afternoon after the jury had reached their verdict.
Kindlon and Shanks contended in many of their arguments that the local authorities had no homicide experience.
`They are not the FBI or Scotland Yard,` said Kindlon during the trials opening arguments.
Members of the district attorney’s office said the community has backed its efforts from the very beginning.
`I think the people back home have been so supportive,` said Assistant District Attorney David Rossi. `They should be proud of the people who serve them in the Capital District.`
When newly elected Albany County District Attorney David Soares took over for his boss Paul Clyne following the 2004 elections, the office was under a political microscope. At the same time, two murders had occurred in the town of Bethlehem, including the Porco crime that had residents feeling unsure the right decision was made in electing Soares.
`Mike McDermott and David Rossi deserve so much credit for the work and energy they put into this case,` said Soares.
Prosecutors agree piecing together a credible timeline of Christopher Porco’s whereabouts from 10 p.m. on Sunday, Nov.14, 2004, through 9 a.m. the day after the attacks was the key to a conviction.
`Making sure jurors could comprehend the timeline was, I think, our biggest feat in this case,` said McDermott.
Corsi said when he got back to the office Friday morning, the day after the verdict, a stack of phone calls had already come in congratulating the department for its fine work.
`The calls stated you’re vindicated and you guys are a great bunch of guys,` said Corsi.
Soares said much of the credit for stringing together a tangible timeline in the Porco murder case goes to David Rossi.
`Rossi is a super sleuth and along with the state police and Bethlehem police, day by day they began to see the timeline come together,` said Soares.
Bowdish said it was heart wrenching for quite some time when he was getting picked apart for his police work by the defense.
`But I believed in what I was doing,` said Bowdish. `I felt I had to.`
All of the members of the police and DA’s office said they will remember the hard work of the late detectives Anthony Arduini and John Cox in the Porco investigation.
`They were both men of high integrity and they were looked up to,` said Corsi.
Christopher Porco faces a maximum penalty of 50 years to life upon sentencing. Berry will rule on Porco’s sentence in October.