The Porco murder: Did a college student take an ax to his parents?

Cops say a mother implicated her son in a brutal murder; she says they are dead wrong

Christopher Porco had told investigators he never left campus. But prosecutor Mike McDermott says surveillance video shows Chris is lying.

Caught on tape was Christopher's bright yellow Jeep driving through a campus parking lot around 10:30 p.m., just hours before the attacks.

At 10:36 p.m., that same yellow Jeep was captured by a surveillance camera on the roof of an off-campus medical center, headed east. From this moment, prosecutors developed a theory for how they believe he committed the crime.

At 10:45 p.m., New York State Thruway toll collector John Fallon thought he remembered handing a ticket to a young man driving a yellow Jeep with big tires. And at 1:51 a.m., another toll collector believes she may have seen a yellow Jeep driven by a young white male speeding into her lane at Exit 24 in Albany. The Porco home is just nine miles away from the exit.

Prosecutor David Rossi thinks Christopher got into the house by using a spare key that was kept under a pot in front of the front door.

At 2:14 a.m., police believe Christopher deactivated the burglar alarm using the master code. "Later he smashed the alarm keypad in an attempt to hide that," Rossi said. "The information is stored on a box in the basement, which we believe Chris probably didn't know that. So smashing the keypad did nothing."

Investigators believe Christopher then grabbed an ax from the garage, crept upstairs, and savagely attacked his parents in bed.

At 4:54 a.m., phone company records show that the phone line was cut.

"Before he left, he staged the house so it appeared that an outsider was the one who entered, cut the phone line," said Rossi.

At 5:12 a.m., Christopher re-enters the New York State Thruway, investigators say, heading back towards Rochester. And finally, at 8:30 a.m. a yellow Jeep is again captured by cameras on the roof of a medical center, headed back in the direction of the campus.

To McDermott, "It all fits perfectly." But how are prosecutors so certain it's Christopher's Jeep? McDermott acknowledges cameras didn't capture a license plate or the driver.

But investigators do have decals, and a telltale mud stain. "The same mud stain. It's better than a fingerprint," said McDermott.

On Nov. 4, 2005, Christopher was charged with the murder of his father, and attempted murder of his mother.

Christopher admits that it was his Jeep on the surveillance video, but says he was just moving it to park off campus. By the time he returned to the dorm lounge, he says his frat brothers had gone to sleep.

"The surveillance cameras on campus don't show me going to the Thruway they don't show me going home. They show me going off-campus," Christopher said. "If I wanted to do something like this, if I wanted to sneak home on the Thruway, why would I take a big yellow car? I mean, that makes no sense to me."

"You've got that surveillance video. But all that tells you is that he left campus. It doesn't tell you where he went," Van Sant commented to McDermott.

But McDermott says there was an eyewitness, Marshall Gokey, who saw the Jeep in the Porcos' driveway at 4 a.m.

Gokey, a neighbor, says he was driving past the Porco home on his way to work on the day the bodies were discovered, when he spotted a familiar yellow Jeep in the driveway. "I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that was Chris Porco's Jeep," he said.

"You couple Marshall Gokey with the surveillance videos with the toll takers with the fact that the alarm was deactivated by someone who knew the master codes, then Marshall Gokey just fits like the jewel on top of the crown," said McDermott.

But a stunning development would threatening to topple the prosecution's entire case and it involved their star witness: Joan Porco herself.

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