Battle lines are being drawn in the sand between the defense team for convicted murderer Christopher Porco and the Albany County District Attorney’s office.
As the Dec. 12 sentencing nears for the guilty verdict in the November 2004 attack that left Porco’s father, Peter, dead and his mother, Joan, severely disfigured, defense attorney Terence Kindlon has filed a motion to stop a victim impact statement by Peter Porco’s sister Patty Szostak.
In a letter to Judge Jeffrey Barry, who will preside over the sentencing in Albany County Court, Kindlon wrote that Szostak celebrated her nephew’s guilty verdict in August by drinking in a bar and said her conduct is not that of a victim.
That would definitely not be in her character, said Assistant District Attorney David Rossi who, along with Michael McDermott, presented the people’s case against Porco.
`I have never see a motion to preclude a victim impact statement,` Rossi said.
Szostak said she is surprised Kindlon’s actions appear to be condoned by the legal system.
`I am perplexed why he repeatedly goes after innocent people with these baseless and far-fetched accusations,` Szostak said, referring to statements made by Porco’s defense team against former Bethlehem police detective Anthony Arduini prior to pre-trial hearings on the case last June. Kindlon accused Arduini of a conflict of interest in the murder investigation because both of Arduini’s daughters dated Christopher Porco and, Kindlon said, the officer feared one of his daughters might have run away with Porco the day of the crime.
Szostak also said Kindlon is calling into question the performance of juror Heather Martin. Kindlon is requesting a hearing to determine whether or not juror misconduct during verdict deliberations occurred. The defense team alleges that a juror who spoke with the Times Union newspaper after the verdict had stated jurors exchanged notes when deliberating. Rossi said he has not spoken with that juror, but the Times Union did print a retraction to that story, according to the District Attorney’s office.
Rossi said he expects Joan Porco, who survived the attack but said she has no memory of it, to also give a victim impact statement, and the probation department will conduct a pre-sentencing investigation before Dec. 12.
`This includes investigating the defendant, the police and undergoing a background check of the defendant’s family,` said Rossi.
Assistant district attorney Michael McDermott, chief prosecutor in the Porco case, announced two weeks ago he would be joining the private law firm of O’ Connell and Aronowitz but will continue working with the district attorney’s office during sentencing.
Kindlon is expected to appeal the guilty verdict shortly after sentencing. Porco could be sentenced up to 50 years in prison.