The state’s highest court is set to hear the appeal of convicted murderer Christopher Porco today.
The Court of Appeals will listen to arguments from Porco’s defense that an incriminating head nod from his critically injured mother should not have been included in his trial, and that the nod’s inclusion was significant enough to order a new trial, Porco attorney Terence Kindlon said.
Prosecutors will also argue their side this afternoon.
The case was accepted for argument before the high court after a lower appeals court ruled in Porco’s favor on the nod itself, but sided with prosecutors on the main issue on whether Porco should get a new trial.
The Appellate Division found that the nod shouldn’t have been included, but that the other evidence was more than enough to uphold the conviction.
At the center of the appeal is an affirmative nod to Bethlehem police detectives by Porco’s mother, Joan Porco, indicating that her son had gravely injured her during the early morning hours of Nov. 15, 2004.
The mother, having suffered severe head injuries during the ax attack, later claimed she didn’t have any recollection of the assault or of her bedside gesture to detectives. Kindlon argues that because she couldn’t remember the gesture, his client essentially couldn’t confront a crucial witness at his trial.
Prosecutors have noted that Porco has the right to follow his appeals to their conclusion, but that they will do their job to uphold the jury’s verdict.
Porco was convicted of the brutal November 2004 murder of his 53-year-old father, Peter Porco, and attempted murder of his mother, Joan, now 60. He attacked them with an ax as they slept in their bed.
Joan Porco was severely maimed and left for dead. Just hours after the attack, the semiconscious woman, who suffered brain damage and lost her left eye, nodded in the affirmative when a police investigator asked if her son Christopher was the assailant.
But she later said that she couldn’t recall the gesture or any details of the attack. During her son’s trial, she testified that the attack left her with scattered recollections of past events.
Christopher Porco, now 28, is serving 46 years to life at the state’s Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, outside of Plattsburgh. He is not eligible for parole until 2052.
Categories: Schenectady County