THE PERFECT ALL-AMERICAN FAMILY --
WHO WOULD WANT TO BRUTALLY ATTACK THEM WITH AN AX?
The Cops Say the Wife Identified the Killer Soon After the Attack,
But She Says They're Dead Wrong -- 48 HOURS, Saturday, Nov. 4
When Peter Porco, a popular 52-year-old lawyer from a sleepy American town, didn't show up for work on a Monday morning in November 2004, a court officer went to his upscale home to investigate. What the officer found was a bloodbath in the kitchen, the bathroom, and the family room. At the foot of the stairs was Porco's bludgeoned body -- the victim of a brutal murder. Correspondent Peter Van Sant explores this all-American tragedy on 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Memory of Murder" to be broadcast Saturday, Nov. 4 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Upstairs in the master bedroom, detective Chris Bowdish discovered Peter's wife, Joan Porco, still breathing. Joan, a beloved speech therapist at a local elementary school, was bleeding profusely and unable to speak from the devastating wounds to her face. On the bed lay the weapon, an ax. The pressing question now was: Who would want to kill Joan and Peter Porco?
In describing the killer's attack on the Porcos, Mike McDermott, the chief prosecutor for Albany County, said, "He swung the ax dozens of times, striking them in the face and head, leaving horrific injuries."
At the crime scene, police believed the question of who "he" was was about to be answered by a bludgeoned Joan Porco in her bed while she still clung to life.
"Did Christopher do this to you?" asked detective Bowdish.
Police say Joan nodded, "Yes." She followed other commands that night that convinced investigators that she was lucid. But Christopher Porco later told police he was 200 miles away in his dorm room at the University of Rochester that night. Nine of his fraternity brothers were unable to support his alibi and campus surveillance footage obtained by 48 HOURS shows Christopher's distinctive yellow jeep on the move that night.
But now that Joan has recovered from the attack, she says she doesn't recall those fateful nods that initially pointed the cops in Christopher's direction. Joan now stands behind her son, publicly supporting his innocence. In spite of a lack of forensics, the police and prosecutors say they have their man, and Christopher is on trial for his life.
In this 48 HOURS report, Van Sant explores the mystery that seems impossible for many in this small town to explain. Did a well-spoken, handsome college student have a motive for murdering his parents - or is he innocent, just like his mother now insists?
48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Memory of Murder," was produced by Katherine Davis and Patti Aronofsky. Anthony Batson is the senior producer. Al Briganti is the executive editor. Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.