The eight women and four men seated as jurors during opening day arguments in the murder trial of Christopher Porco were, in Defense Attorney Terence Kindlon’s own words, riveted as they listened to Assistant District Attorney Michael McDermott present the people’s case against Christopher Porco.
`The man you see before you entered his childhood home while his parents were in bed asleep, and repeatedly struck them with an ax, splitting his father’s skull open 12 times, then splitting his mother’s skull and then left them for dead,` said McDermott.
`How could this happen, why did this happen?` asked McDermott.
`Those are the questions we will be spending the next several weeks proving.`
Kindlon said the murder of Delmar residents Peter Porco and attempted murder of Joan Porco is shocking and horrific, brutal and probably sadistic.
`We do, however, tell you that our client Christopher Porco is not guilty of this horrible crime. There is not a shred of evidence to connect Christopher Porco to this crime, nothing, nothing, nothing,` Kindlon stressed.
Albany County’s chief prosecutor handling the case continued with his statement as the friends and family of Christopher Porco looked on, as did McDermott’s boss, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, seated inside the Orange County Courtroom where the trial is being held.
`Christopher Porco was a very popular young man but a terrible student,` said McDermott. `Ten months prior to the crimes, the University of Rochester told him to take a year off to get his head together.` McDermott then laid out a scenario alleging that Christopher Porco began a series of lies, which continued to build. The lies included forging school transcripts, lying to his parents about why he left the University, lying to school officials about tuition payments, lying to his parents about his personal finances and forging his father’s name on two separate loan applications totaling $48,000, then telling his parents he was receiving a semester of tuition free.
`Christopher Porco was living on borrowed time, ladies and gentlemen,` McDermott said. `How long did he think he could go before Peter Porco would wake up and see what is going on?`
McDermott said the lies continued until 10 days prior to the attacks when a flurry of e-mails exchanged between Christopher and his parents.
`You can see the e-mails back and forth like a crescendo, building, mounting, the pressure all coming to a head,` said McDermott. McDermott said the e-mails indicated that Peter Porco was going to file forgery affidavits against his son Christopher, and both Peter and Joan Porco sensed their son was having a mental breakdown and demanded he come back home.
`Deception, deceit, a house of cards begins to crash in November of 2004,` said McDermott.
Kindlon, on the other hand, said McDermott’s accusations and the year of work leading up to Porco’s arrest amounts to `60 boxes of nothing, and six tons of wishful thinking.`
`Christopher Porco has no history of violence at all,` said Kindlon. `We’re supposed to believe suddenly on Nov. 15, 2004, a big Frankenstein monster switch got thrown into his head and he became a homicidal maniac striking his parents with an ax.`
Kindlon indicated to the jury the Bethlehem police department, which investigated the crime, is a small staff used to DWIs and telling teenage skateboarders to stop skating near the church, but not experienced homicide detectives.
`Their detective unit has four detectives and no homicide squad,` said Kindlon. `There have only been three homicides in the town of Bethlehem in the past 30 years. They are not the FBI or Scotland Yard.`
Porco, according to Kindlon, `is one of those guys everybody knows.`
`He makes a lot of good decisions, he makes a lot of bad decisions, but everyone who knows him likes him,` Kindlon said.
Christopher’s mother, Joan Porco, will be called to the witness stand by both the defense and prosecution during the trial.
`She knows Christopher better than anyone, and she knows he is incapable of the kind of violence inflicted on her beloved husband and herself,` Kindlon said.