By Jim Mustian
January 20, 2014
The trail of blood offered a grisly glimpse of the killer’s movements about Apartment 94: Whoever stabbed Denise Porter left her body in the living room, washed up at the kitchen sink and apparently showered upstairs before leaving the residence. Finding no signs of burglary, Baton Rouge police concluded the 20-year-old knew her assailant and that the March 1985 attack was motivated by unmitigated rage.
No one reported hearing a struggle, but neighbors were woken by the hysterical shouting of Joel G. Porter, a 27-year-old college student who told detectives he came home from working the night shift to discover his wife’s body splayed across the floor.
Porter told detectives he could not be the killer, investigative police reports show, because he worked all night without taking a lunch. He declined to take a polygraph, saying he feared his nervousness would skew the unreliable test.
“We haven’t been able to gather any additional information from him because his attorney has placed limits on his availability to us,” Detective John C. Dauthier said. “There’s some new information now that’s being pursued that wasn’t available until we reopened the case.”
A search warrant filed last week says Porter “has always been a suspect in his wife’s murder.” The warrant says police pulled Porter over last March at the intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 to take a swab for DNA testing. Steve Irving, an attorney who has represented Porter in his dealings with the Police Department, said Porter told investigators he would give them the sample at Irving’s office but was stopped on his way.
“The police asked to interview Joel immediately when he was stopped for the DNA swab,” Irving said in an email. “Joel told the police quite plainly that he would grant the interview at my office when he got there. The police declined.”