Joan Porco joining killer son's lawsuit against Lifetime
ALBANY — Convicted ax murderer Christopher Porco has lost a round in his more than six-year legal battle against the Lifetime cable network, which in 2013 aired a movie about his notorious 2004 attack on his parents in their Delmar home.
A midlevel court decision Thursday revealed that Porco's mother Joan joined her son's lawsuit against Lifetime. Christopher Porco was convicted in 2006 of maiming her and killing his father, Peter Porco, as the couple slept in their Brockley Drive home on Nov. 15, 2004.
Five appellate justices in Albany rejected Porco's attempt to get his mother added to the lawsuit. While that argument failed, it will not keep Joan Porco from joining the suit on other legal grounds, according to Alan J. Pierce, an attorney representing Christopher Porco.
"Case is not dismissed. Both the claims of Chris and Joan Porco remain in the case," Pierce said in an email.
Christopher Porco, now 36, is serving 46 years to life in Clinton Correctional Facility for second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder — the latter charge resulting from his mother's injuries. Porco's attack on his parents and subsequent conviction is considered one of the most high-profile murder cases in the history of the Capital Region. Peter Porco was the law clerk for Anthony V. Cardona, the presiding justice of the the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court's Third Department in Albany. His son's trial was moved to Orange County.
After she was gravely injured, Bethlehem Detective Christopher Bowdish asked Joan Porco, as she was being treated by paramedics, if her older son Jonathan was the person who attacked her. She nodded "no." The detective then asked if Christopher attacked had her. Joan Porco nodded "yes."
The mother suffered brain damage and other major injuries, but has strongly supported her son and attested to his innocence.
In 2012, when Porco learned Lifetime was producing "Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story," he filed a temporary restraining order to stop it from airing. He argued the movie, in which he was played by actor Matt Barr, was unauthorized, fictional, made for commercial gain and a violation of his civil rights.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert J. Muller granted Porco's request. Lifetime appealed to Appellate Justice Elizabeth Garry, now the Appellate Division's presiding justice, who allowed the film to go forward. The Appellate Division later reversed the initial order and sent it back to Muller, who dismissed Porco's case.
The Appellate Division, however, reversed Muller's dismissal, concluding there were still issues to be addressed by the court.
In 2017, Porco moved to add his mother as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Lifetime argued her addition was barred by the statute of limitations. State Supreme Court Justice Mark Powers agreed, prompting the appeal that Porco lost Thursday.
Joan Porco, however, can still join the lawsuit on the argument that when the network "republished" the movie, a new statute of limitations started running, the decision said.
The decision was handed down by Appellate Justices Sharon Aarons, John Egan, Michael Lynch, Eugene "Gus" Devine and Phillip Rumsey.