YNN 10 Years: The trial of Christopher Porco
One man’s name will forever be linked to community where he lived with the family he destroyed. Christopher Porco’s horrific attack on his parents brought intense coverage and intrigue. His trial had enough twists and turns that still has the legal world talking. YNN’s Solomon Syed has the story.
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In the idyllic suburb of Bethlehem, Brockley Drive sits relatively still on this early fall morning, just like it did eight years ago. Before the winds of change blew in. Before we ever heard that name.
A name that still resonates throughout the Capital Region. Christopher Porco.
"The start student, the star athlete, the great son."
Former Albany County Assistant District Attorney Michael McDermott remembers when that perception started to change, the morning he took a ride to Brockley Drive to survey the gruesome scene at the home of Peter and Joan Porco on November 15, 2004.
McDermott said, "This horrendous attack, in the suburbs in the middle of the night. And then when it became clear the allegations were touching on the son, I think that just touches off a primal chord in people."
Legal analyst Paul DerOhannesian said, "It just didn't fit to have an ax murderer running loose in this community."
Attorney Paul DerOhannesian served as analyst for several media outlets during the Porco trial, including YNN.
"There is no other criminal case in the last 10 years that had this level of local attention and intrigue," DerOhannesian said.
Defense attorney Terence Kindlon said, "It is now more than six years since the Porco verdict came in, and every single time I pick a jury, doesn't matter where it is, and I work outside of Albany, there is some juror that says they can't be on any jury in any case that I'm doing because of the Porco case."
Terence Kindlon was Porco's defense attorney and authored his several appeals. The latest one was denied review by the Supreme Court.
"We took a beating," Kindlon said. "We took a beating. We still take a beating."
But perhaps not as big as the one the case delivered to future of trying criminal cases, during an age where time-honored values fall under modern scrutiny.
McDermott said, "I think the social media had a lot to do with drawing people in. This is the first case that I tried where there were blogs involved and where they had comments on the newspaper online so people who were following the case could begin a dialogue, and it was just out of control."
Kindlon said, "Some ancient themes were at present in this case - Greek tragedy, Shakespearian drama. It was very intense, and it was a murder mystery."
DerOhannesian said, "It did take on a reality TV aspect. He was out on bail. And while he was out free in the community, he sought attention. He would party. He would basically galavant throughout the community. We'd see jurors walking out and seeing five satellite trucks, I think the challenges to the legal system in trying to ensure 'fair trial' is much more difficult today. We knew darned well they were going on the Internet and asking 'Who's Chris Porco?'"
Will there come a day when people here in the Capital Region actually have to ask that question? When they forget about what happened here on Brockley Drive? When they forget that a son murdered his father and maimed his mother? When they forget the name Christopher Porco?
Kindlon said, "With all of the attention it got, it's going to be a long time before it's forgotten, that's for sure."
McDermott said, "In time, it's just going to be a footnote in criminal law history. I don't think I know anybody who could name the most notorious case of 50 years ago, of 40 years ago."
Porco will be eligible for parole in the year 2052, 40 years from now, just in time to remind anyone who may have forgotten.