Cuyler Man Accused of Murder Arraigned on Amended Charges
A Cuyler man accused of strangling his wife to death in July was returned to jail yesterday without bail following his arraignment in Cortland County Court.
Last week, a Cortland County Grand Jury handed up a four count indictment-charging 44-year-old Keith Pottorff with second-degree murder, criminal possession of stolen property, forgery, and criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Pottorff is accused of killing his wife 53 year old Janet Pottorff in the couple's home at 5769 Dog Hollow Road back on July 17th.
State Police were called to Pottorff’s home on July 20th for what initially started as a missing person investigation.
Co-workers of Janet Pottorff had contacted police after she did not come to work at the Cortland Regional Medical Center where she was employed as a nurse. Pottorff’s co-workers became suspicious after Keith Pottorff had called in sick for his wife.
Co-worker’s say that the woman had confided that Keith Pottorff had been using drugs and had been stealing money from her. Co-workers were also aware of some domestic violence that had occurred in the couple’s home.
On July 20th investigators searched the Cuyler property and found Janet Pottorff’s partially clothed body in a shed behind the house, the woman’s hands and feet were tied.
A pathologist determined that she was killed two days before and that she had either been strangled with some sort of cord or possible by placing bags over her head.
Keith Pottorff was later found at the Grass Roots Festival in Trumansburg. During questioning at the State Police barracks Pottorff admitted his cocaine usage and that he and his wife had argued over it. Investigators also found jewelry in Pottorff’s bag that was later identified as belonging to Janet Pottorff.
The updated charges against Pottorff accuse him using his dead wife’s bank debit card at various businesses and cashing a $975 dollar check from her account at First Niagara Bank.
Pottorff’s attorney County Public Defender Edward Goehler entered not guilty pleas on his behalf and asked that bail be set. County D-A Mark Suben pointed out that Pottorff has three prior felony convictions and is facing serious charges; he asked that bail be set at no less than $250 thousand dollars cash or $500 thousand dollars bond.
County Judge Julie Campbell returned Pottorff to jail with no bail; he is due back in court on November 1st.
If found guilty of the murder charge, Pottorff faces 25 years to life in prison.