November 15, 2004
Delmar, New York
Peter and Joan Porco are found after being bludgeoned with an axe as they sleep
Peter Porco was discovered dead from massive blunt head trauma at his front door. Blood evidence left at the scene showed that, despite having 16 major wounds to his face and head including a penetration wound to his brain and the removal of part of his jaw, Peter continued about his morning routines as normal. He spent some time at his bathroom sink, loaded the dishwasher, packed a lunch, and wrote a check before collapsing at the front door. All the while, his wife Joan was bleeding from her own serious wounds on their bed. After the discovery of Peter’s body, Joan was found and taken to a hospital. She survived, though she lost one eye and parts of her skull, and was left with facial disfigurement. A bloody axe left at the scene belonged to the family.
The couple’s younger son, 21-year-old Christopher, quickly became the prime suspect. Police investigating the crime had asked Joan if she knew her attacker. She nodded “yes.” When asked if the attacker was a relative, she again nodded. When asked if her older son, Jonathan, was responsible, she shook her head “no,” then nodded in the affirmative when asked if her son Christopher had attacked her. She later denied this allegation towards her son, and has since been outspoken regarding Christopher’s innocence.
Prosecutors pointed towards finances as the motive behind the attack, citing two instances of Christopher forging his father signature, once on a loan and another for a line of credit. Peter was aware of these forgeries and had confronted Christopher two weeks before his murder.
Christopher’s defense team pointed out the fact that Christopher was at his college when Peter’s body was found, 230 miles (370km) away. They also pointed to a lack of Christopher’s fingerprints on the murder weapon.
Christopher was convicted of second-degree murder and attempted murder, receiving the maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison.
Christopher Porco walking his mother Joan to court.
Photos of the crime scene can be seen here (warning: they are graphic).
- Virtanen, Michael. “Porco given 50 years to life.” Democrat and Chronicle. December 13, 2006
- Hill, Michael. “Man convicted of killing his father in attack with ax.” The Journal News [White Plains, New York]. August 11, 2006
- Karlin, Rick. “Peter Porco’s death detailed.” Times Union. July 27, 2006. Accessed: November 15, 2018. https://www.timesunion.com/news/amp/Peter-Porco-s-death-detailed-580264.php
- Cuozzo, Jim. “EZ-Pass, forged transcripts focus of testimony.” Spotlight News. July 26, 2006. Accessed: November 15, 2018. https://www.spotlightnews.com/news/2006/07/26/ez-pass-forged-transcripts-focus-of-testimony/
- “Trial to open for man accused of hacking parents with an ax.” Poughkeepsie Journal [Poughkeepsie, New York]. June 26, 2006