Pottorff Murder Trial Enters Third Day, Jurors Shown Autopsy Photos & Police Interview
Testimony continued Wednesday in Cortland County Court in connection with the Pottorff murder trial, jurors heard from Broome County Medical examiner Dr. James Terzian and saw a video of State Police questioning Keith Pottorff who stands accused of murdering his wife Janet.
Jurors were shown graphic photos of Janet Pottorff’s body before and during a medical autopsy performed by Dr. Terzian.
Terzian testified about the condition 53 year old Janet Pottorff’s body was in when he began his review on July 21st. The photos illustrated how the woman’s hands and feet had been tied up, she was found with cord around her neck and bags taped over her head. Terzian said that he could not tell exactly if the woman had died from strangulation or asphyxiation from the bags placed over her head.
Terzian said when he received the body it was already in an advanced state of decomposition, he did note wounds on the women’s arms and legs that were sustained prior to her death; he said those could be defensive wounds from a possible struggle. Terzian believes that Janet was alive when she was tied up; he found traces of alcohol and antidepressants in her system which indicate she may have been drowsy when she was killed. Terzian said it was possible the woman had been rendered unconscious by a blow to the head, but he could not find evidence of it. Terzian said there was also no evidence of a sex assault.
Terzian said based his review he believed that Janet Pottorff was killed sometime on July 17th, 44 year old Keith Pottorff who is accused of killing his wife has repeatedly said his wife was alive and well when he left home on July 20th and headed to the Grass Roots Music Festival in Trumansburg.
Initially Pottorff appeared unemotional as the graphic photos of his wife’s autopsy were displayed on a large screen in the courtroom, but eventually he became distraught and appeared to crying.
Later in the day Jurors watch a video of State Police investigators questioning Pottorff on his wife’s disappearance. Throughout the tape Pottorff says he does not know where his wife is and seems surprised that she is not at work as scheduled, he attempts to call her phone during the interview. About two hours into the interrogation police inform him that Janet’s body has been found in a shed behind his home, Pottorff seems shocked and is in disbelief and is surprised he is considered a suspect.
Pottorff is accused of murdering the woman then using her bank account to fuel his drug addiction. During the police interview Pottorff admitted he and his wife had argued over his drug abuse, but said he had been drug free for at least three months. He Janet had agreed to allow him to go to the music festival as a kind of "test" of his recent sobriety.
Testimony resumes today, Pottorff faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty.