The last couple days have me thinking a lot about fall 2004.
You see, my then-coworker, D, was a councilwoman for the city of Rensselaer, and she begged me to go to this Democratic fundraiser for the county. I agreed, and dragged my good friend, K, along for company. I think we both felt a little awkward there, but I was relieved for the friendly face, as clearly I knew no one there, and most of the people there all knew each other. Not a lot of 20-somethings floating around, either.
So, a ways into the evening, Anthony Cardona, an appellate court judge up for reelection, along with his law clerk, asked if they could sit at our table. Judge Cardona was extremely friendly. The law clerk – whose name I did not catch at the time – was very quiet. He seemed very, very nice, but he didn’t say much. Looking back, I wish I had engaged him more in conversation. But, then again, what did I know at the time? K remembers they both bought arm lengths of raffle tickets and then gave them to us. So very friendly and very, very nice people. That I DID remember.
The man who was sitting at our table along with Judge Cardona was Peter Porco.
K said, and to an extent, I agree, that she would not have been so interested in the case had she not met Mr. Porco. I remember consciously not following the trial, because even though I was convinced of Chris Porco’s guilt, I thought for sure he would walk. Poor little upper middle class white boy who can afford expensive defense attorneys – of course he would walk. He was cruising around Albany while out on bail in that obnoxious yellow Jeep of his, smiling at teenage girls and turning down autograph requests, saying “Wait until I’m on Oprah.” Ugh, what a sociopath.
But, the jury agreed. They found him guilty on all counts. Chris Porco faces 50 years to life in prison.
K and I watched the after-trial coverage on WTEN Thursday night while eating pizza and drinking wine. We had plans to get together for about a week, but it’s fitting that the verdict came in that very night. I’m glad I watched it with her, as I think we both felt a strange, shared connection to this case. Meanwhile, the entirety of Albany County got vindication that there is hope for our justice system. To folks in Albany-Land, the Yellow Jeep became as infamous as OJ’s White Bronco. I’m told the case is going to be on 48 Hours. I’m just waiting for Law and Order to pick it up as a “Ripped from the Headlines.”
I think what is more shocking, even more shocking than that a son could do that to his parents, is that it can happen in a sleepy Albany, NY suburb. Though logically we all know it can happen to us, it can happen to people we know, it can happen close to home, we never actually think it can.