Today, Wednesday, June 28, could be the final day for jury selection in the murder trial of Christopher Porco. A jury pool of five women and two men has been chosen so far. Another five jurors and six alternates will be picked today.
The jury selection began on Monday with over 200 people slowly being weeded out to the final 12 that will be seated to hear the case in Orange County Supreme Court in the town of Goshen. Judge Jeffrey Berry will preside. Attorneys for both sides are hoping that opening arguments will be made no later than the end of Wednesday or Thursday morning.
Heavy publicity in Albany County forced the trial to be moved to Orange County, where there is little if any local media coverage on the trial. A group of Capital District electronic and print media have been following Christopher Porco since the crime occurred and continue their vigil outside the Orange County Courthouse.
Porco is accused of killing his father and attempting to murder his mother with an ax in the family’s Brockley Drive home in Delmar in November 2004.
Evidence that will be allowed in the murder trial includes Porco admitting to staging a burglary over a year prior to the attacks at the family’s Delmar home. Defense Attorneys Terrence Kindlon and Laurie Shanks along with chief prosecutor and Assistant District Attorney Michael McDermott have all been echoing the same phrase they would all like to see a fair trial. Potential jurors have been screened all week long to see if they can be fair and impartial when evidence on the case is made public. Jurors chosen so far include a teacher, a paralegal, and a bus driver.
McDermott said this week that Joan Porco, the mother of Christopher Porco who survived the brutal attacks, will be called as a witness for both the prosecution and the defense. Joan Porco has no recollection of the attack and has publicly stated that her son is innocent of the crimes he is accused of.
The murder trial is expected to last four to six weeks. Christopher Porco has been escorted into the courtroom daily by his mother Joan, and a few close family members and friends including Lynn Polster, the wife of attorney John Polster, who was considered to be Peter Porco’s best friend. John Polster was at the Bethlehem police station the night Christopher Porco was questioned by police. Polster stated in pre-trial testimony that he was representing Christopher at the time of police questioning and wasn’t allowed in to see him. Christopher Porco, at the time, however, denied having an attorney.
The six-and-one-half hour interrogation by Bethlehem police was videotaped, and parts were shown during Porco’s pre-trial evidentiary hearings. Berry has not revealed to the public what evidence will be allowed or thrown out for the trial. He has made his rulings on most of the evidence, except for the Thruway toll ticket prosecutors believe Porco’s fingerprints are on when he allegedly drove from the University of Rochester to Albany and then back again to the Rochester campus the night the crime occurred. The judge is expected to make the rulings public this week.
Another potential witness in the trial is Courtney Arduini, the youngest daughter of the late Bethlehem Police Det. Anthony Arduini. Defense attorneys believe Courtney Arduini and Christopher Porco dated at the time of the attacks, and that Det. Arduini may have allegedly tampered with evidence because of his distrust of Christopher Porco. The Arduini family has since hired an attorney to stop defense attorneys from potentially slandering the late detective’s name. Bethlehem’s PBA has since defended detective Arduini as an honest and hard working cop whose name should not be slandered by an attorney who is trying to profess his client’s innocence.
Porco remains free on bail until the outcome of the trial is decided.
When the Christopher Porco murder trial begins, Spotlight Newspapers will post daily coverage on its Web site, www.spotlightnews.com.`