Jury Finds Pottorff Guilty on All Counts Including Murder
A Cortland County jury has returned a verdict in connection with the trial of a Town of Cuyler man who stood accused of murdering his wife last July.
The seven women and five men on the jury have found 44 year old Keith Pottorff guilty on all counts, including murder in the second degree, two counts of possessing stolen property, forgery and criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Pottorff was accused of killing his wife 53 year old Janet Pottorff back on July 17th at their home on Dog Hollow Road.
Pottorff was accused of killing the woman by either strangling her or placing plastic bags over her head. State Police found her body “hogtied” in a shed behind the house on July 20th, a pathologist testified that she likely had been dead since July 17th.
Pottorff claimed his wife was alive when he left the house on July 19th, he denied killing her even as recently as Tuesday when he took the witness stand to defend himself.
In his original story to police Pottorff claimed he called her in sick to work because she wasn’t feeling well, on the second day her coworkers became suspicious because he had called her in sick on one of her days off. Police initially treated the matter as a missing person case.
During his testimony Pottorff admitted that he had actually left the house the evening of July17th after the couple fought over his drug and alcohol abuse. Pottorff claimed that his wife threw her jewelry and check book at him during the argument in a fit of rage and told him to take everything if he planned on attending a local music festival where he would continue to abuse drugs.
Pottorff said he initially lied to police to protect his friends who he spent time with doing drugs in the days following the murder.
Pottorff admitted to draining the woman’s bank account to buy cocaine, alcohol, and concert tickets. He said he took her jewelry and planned to return it to her when he got home.
The jury rendered their guilty verdict after deliberating for about five hours.
Pottorff sat calmly as the verdict was read, while Janet’s family including her sisters openly wept.
Janet’s sister Joann Monroe-McNeill says she is relieved at the verdict and feels her sister can now rest in peace, she hopes Keith realizes what he’s done as he spends the rest of his days behind bars.
County District attorney Mark Suben credited his staff and New York State police in securing the guilty verdict.
Suben says he is prepared to ask for the maximum penalty, which is 25 years to life behind bars.
Pottorff’s attorney Ira Pesserillo says the decision will likely be appealed. He is due to be sentenced on April 18th.