Orange County Judge Jeffrey Berry is expected to release his ruling this week regarding what evidence presented in the pre-trial hearing on the Christopher Porco murder trial will be allowed during the trial. Porco is accused of killing his father Peter Porco and severely wounding his mother Joan Porco inside their former Brockley Street, Delmar, home on Nov. 15, 2004.
Prosecutors believe Christopher Porco was not at the University of Rochester the night of the crime as he told authorities from the Bethlehem police department who questioned him the night following the murder.
Evidence submitted by Albany County prosecutors in the case against Christopher Porco includes a six-and-a-half hour videotape of Bethlehem detectives interrogating Porco inside the squad room of the station house on Delaware Avenue the next night following the crime. Portions of the videotape revealed in pre-trial hearings show Porco being asked by police to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence, but Porco refused.
Prosecutors are setting up a case to show that Christopher Porco was having serious family problems and financial issues prior to the time the crime was committed. Prosecutors believe Porco may have faked a burglary at his family’s home the night of the attacks. Items previously stolen from the Porco family home were sold online and traced back to Christopher Porco, according to authorities. Prosecutors also believe Christopher’s mother, Joan Porco, tried to tell police who her assailant was the morning after the attacks. As paramedics worked to keep her alive, police asked if Christopher Porco committed the crime. Four different people present in the Porco bedroom that night all testified that Joan Porco nodded yes when asked if Christopher Porco committed the crime. Joan Porco could not speak because her wounds were so severe and she now has no recollection of that night whatsoever.
The defense, led by attorneys Terrence Kindlon and Laurie Shanks, believe police violated their client’s constitutional rights the night Porco was questioned by authorities. `My sense is we really made a very persuasive case for exclusion of the videotape and all the information that was extracted during that interrogation,` said Kindlon.
John Polster, a lawyer and close friend of the Porco family, was at the Bethlehem Police station the night Porco was questioned, but was not allowed inside the squad room. According to sworn testimony given at the pre-trial hearings, Porco stated that Polster was a family friend and not his lawyer.
Kindlon also tried to have Assistant District Attorneys Michael McDermott and David Rossi disqualified from handling the case because they were inside the Bethlehem police station the night Porco was being questioned. Kindlon believes Porco was never read his Miranda Rights. Porco signed a statement informing him of his rights, but was never orally read his entire Miranda Rights.
`A lot of issues will require extensive search to determine what is and isn’t admissible,` said Judge Berry during the pre-trial.
The defense will also file a motion to move the trial out of Albany County because of all the pre-trial publicity since the attacks.
`There is a real danger that it is virtually impossible for Christopher Porco to receive a fair trial, at least in Albany County,` Kindlon said.
Meanwhile, Christopher Porco is out on bail and living at the home of Elaine LaForte and her family in Glenmont. Porco is also working at LaForte’s business, Bethlehem Veterinary Hospital in Glenmont. He has worked there since 2000.
The trial is expected to start next week after jury selection is complete. Berry will allow up to 10 days for the jury to be picked. Joan Porco was present every day of the pre-trial hearings and is expected to be present when the trial begins. Peter Porco worked as a law clerk for the state Appellate Division in Albany County at the time of his murder. “