Christopher Porco's court appeal has been denied, affirming a lower court's ruling and also the jury's guilty verdict from the 2004 incident and Porco's 50 year prison sentence. We talked to prosecutors in the case and Porco's lawyer to learn their responses to the ruling. Our Erin Vannella reports.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- On one side we have the prosecution team, confident in the court proceedings and subsequent conviction. On the other, the defense has already set in motion the process to try the case again before the U.S. Supreme Court and to review this high court's decision.
"Basically this is a federal constitutional argument based on the sixth amendment to the constitution," said defense attorney Terence Kindlon. "And under the circumstances, we feel and continue to feel that the conviction should be reversed."
Kindlon insists his client, Christopher Porco, is innocent, despite the court's ruling Tuesday to uphold Porco's guilty verdict and 50 year sentence for the murder of his father and attempted murder of his mother with an ax in 2004.
"We placed a call to him this morning at Dannemora," said Kindlon. "He has not called us back. But I can assure you that if one is serving a sentence of 50 years to life and learns that that sentence will remain in place because the application for a new trial has been denied by the state's highest court, it's not a good day."
The prosecution, meanwhile, sits confidently with the judge and jury's decision that the facts were overwhelming despite the defense's argument that Joan Porco's head nod to acknowledge her son as the assailant was in error.
"We always said the case was not about the head nod and it wasn't about the head nod," said prosecutor David Rossi. "And when you read this court's decision you'll see that. They'll tell you the case is overwhelming even without the head nod so it doesn't really matter."
But Kindlon says it does matter and that Joan Porco supports the fight for her son's freedom.
"Mrs. Porco is 100 percent dedicated to the proposition her son is innocent of this crime and is not about to give up," said Kindlon. "Nor are we."
"She's always been a tragic figure," said Albany County District Attorney David Soares. "She's a victim and we've never sought to capitalize or exploit that fact. The case we put on and the justice that we sought was in fact for her."
Kindlon admits the Supreme Court is a tough court to get into, but he's hopeful they'll get their case heard. The prosecution on the other hand, bets against the likelihood of any more chances for Porco. They're arguing instead that the appeal will be denied based on the facts, even if the head nod was in error that it was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.