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Posted on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

Civil suit alleges murderer put killing wife on to-do list

By John Counts


Jean Pierre Trias

Courtesy of the WCSO

Jean Pierre Trias put killing his wife on a to-do list before stabbing her to death last winter, a wrongful death suit filed by Katherine Porter’s sisters last week in the Washtenaw County Trial Court contends.

“Kill Kathie Kill Kathie Kill Kathie!!!!!” was written on a list of daily chores in a saved computer file that was recovered by police and proves premeditation, according to the suit, filed July 18 by Martha Porter, of Connecticut, and Sarah Porter.

Anthony Patti, of Hooper Hathway in Ann Arbor, is representing the sisters and said they do not wish to comment on the legal proceedings.

“This was a devastating, horrible event,” he said. “I’d rather let the lawsuit speak for itself.”

The sisters are seeking an unspecified amount of money more than $25,000, the minimum to get the case into circuit court, on one count of assault and one count of wrongful death due to battery, court records indicate.

Trias’ estate is worth more than a million dollars, which spurred Patti to file a temporary restraining order freezing the funds to prevent Trias or his brother, who the suit says is his power of attorney, from spending the money.

Judge Donald Shelton granted the temporary freeze on the assets and the case is scheduled to come before the court Wednesday when Shelton could issue a preliminary injunction on the accounts freezing the assets until the case is settled, Patti said.

The suit claims there was evidence recovered from the married couple’s Pittsfield Township home shortly after the murder indicating Trias recently inherited more than a million dollars and property in Puerto Rico.

“Jean Pierre is a man of means,” the suit states, adding that he is the grandson of Jose Trias Monge who “served as an architect of the Puerto Rican constitution.”

Monge also was that country’s attorney general and, from 1974 to 1985, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Trias’ father, Peter Trias Grimes, was also notable in Puerto Rican affairs, the suit claims. When he died, Trias “inherited a substantial amount of money,” court records say. “Had he predeceased his wife, this wealth would have been hers.”

Trias was sentenced July 16 - two days before the suit was filed - to 30-36 years in a state prison after an earlier plea of guilty to second-degree murder. The wrongful death suit argues that since Trias will not have any income during this time, any damages should be awarded from the inheritance.

Trias is a former Eastern Michigan University employee, where he worked off and on from September 2003 until Dec. 31, 2012 in the mathematics department as a part-time coordinator of math tutoring and testing services, while also serving as a graduate assistant.

Trias admitted to stabbing Porter, his wife of 17 years, multiple times with two different knives — both of which were still in Porter when officers responded to the home to check on Trias the next day. Porter had numerous superficial cuts and three or four injuries that appeared to be bite marks, according to Washtenaw County medical examiners. The death certificate cites "multiple stabbing wounds" as the cause of death, court records indicate.

Trias also suffered injuries that night — medical examiners said he had wounds on his face that appeared to be consistent with fingernail scratches.

The couple married in August 1995 and Trias once filed for divorce, but the couple reconciled.

Joe Simon, who represented Trias during criminal proceedings, could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately known who was representing Trias in the civil case.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Thomas S. Trias

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

While I can certainly appreciate Mr. Patti's desire to protect the interests of the Porter's, who, in my opinion, deserve all of my brother's assetts, the only expenditures I made from my brother's accounts were to cover expenses related to their house and taxes, and to reimburse my out-of-pocket costs associated with the situation. I never had any intention nor did I act in any way to squander or divert JP's assetts. Frankly, having the estate in receivership takes a huge responsibility from my shoulders.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:23 a.m.

Thomas, God bless you.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 3:27 a.m.

There are many allegations missing here (based on the sentencing hearing but, allegations since this did not go to trial) 1. Kathie was stabbed 64 to 65 times (until she was dead, said, not allegedly, by JP). 2. The tip of one knife was found broken off in her skull. 3. The other knife was still in her abdomen when she was found by the police. 4. She was dead in the home for about 18 hours before the police found her. 5. In the meantime, someone still in the home internet searched for defense lawyers and porn. 6. In the meantime, JP had contact with two other women as well as his brother. 7. The 4 bite marks were on her left forearm and the scratch marks on his left cheek. Both normal defense actions when it comes to domestic violence. And, most importantly, not allegations; 8. Kathie's life had great value. Those who knew her miss her dearly. While her loss and what she must have gone through is painful to me, I can't imagine what her sisters and parents are going through. 9. JP didn't just do this to a stranger, he did it to a woman who trusted, loved him, and shared her life with him. 10. Nope, she wasn't "perfect" but she was wonderful. No amount of money could make-up for the loss of her. 11. If he did this because he didn't want to share the money with her in a divorce (besides "maybe" being a sociopath) he deserves to loose every last penny. And, in my opinion, he deserves to loose every last penny no matter his motives.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 6:15 a.m.

Thomas, I don't know if you will ever see this but, I know you were dear to Kathie's heart. And, I really respect you for the actions you took that could have saved her in different circumstances. I wish you all the best. You are a good man and I know this is very painful for you also. Probably more painful for you than anybody else since you loved them both. I wish I had a way to communicate this to you directly. I can personally tell you that a good therapist is very important when trying to work through trauma like this.

Thomas S. Trias

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

My contact with JP on the day after the murder consisted of me calling to check on his welfare, since my mother had received a call the night before that worried her. After getting off the phone with him that afternoon, where he claimed to have "blacked out and hurt Kathie", I called the Ypsilanti police, who directed me to the Pittsfield Township police, and I urged them to send officers to the house. My mother and I drove from Western Illinois to Michigan, arriving at 2:00 am and going straight to the Pittsfield police.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 4:52 a.m.

I worked with Kathie in the mid to late 90's at Lippincott. She was so well liked and one of the smartest people I ever met. I was a few offices down and I would visit and talk with her often. I am so sorry to hear about such a violent horrible end to such a kind and trusting soul. My deepest condolences to the family.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

Thank you, Ann. You obviously knew Kathie very well. I know her sisters and parents, and I know this is very painful for them. They did not want to go through the extremely long process of a trial; I do know that they just wanted to hear him admit he was guilty and not plead insanity, which he may have done for a higher charge. I'm sorry for your loss. From what I knew of Kathie in the few times I met her, she was a wonderful person and a great daughter and sister to her family.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 10:25 a.m.

Jim Fink

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

"Monge also was that country's attorney general and, from 1974 to 1985, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. " Did I miss something or is Puerto Rico still part of the U.S.?

Thomas S. Trias

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. Commonwealth, with a non-voting member in The House of Representatives. It has it's own constitution and legal system, as states do, and is subject to most federal laws excepting the tax code.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

You missed something.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

wow. this guy needs to Never See the Light of Day Again!!


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

Ah, yes. Just like Steve Buscemi in Billy Madison.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

Be very strange if this guy turns out to be sui generis, something other than the wealthy scion of an influential Puerto Rican family. Which may be why a no-contest plea didn't come up in pre-trial discussions. Or did it? Was defense attorney Simons court-appointed in the first trial? Meanwhile, if you tell us where he lived, we could all go dig up his backyard for ancient pieces-of-eight.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

If killing his wife was on a "to do list" it would seem 1st degree murder would have been a slam dunk. But I can't say I followed the case.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

Sorry, equating the two?


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Sue, at what point am I comparing the two? I'm simply using them both as examples. I could have just as easily used OJ, but these two were recent.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 7:09 p.m.

MathGeek, please do not equate George Zimmerman, who killed his attacker in self defense, with Casey Anthony, who everyone knows, killed her little girl in cold blood.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

Craig, the case was a slam dunk until he plead insanity as his defense, and then what? Some people thought George Zimmerman and Casey Anthony were slam dunk cases as well. He could have plead guilty to 'being a jerk' and that doesn't change the fact that Kathy is dead, or the fact that he got 30 years in prison....which, I would place my bets, will essentially be a life sentence anyway.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

yes. and I doubt it would take thousands of hours. The case was a slam dunk.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 8:49 p.m.

The prosecutor's office only has so many resources. Do you really want them to spend thousands of hours making sure that a 74-year old doesn't get released, and risking a crazy juror voting not guilty, instead of saving time for other cases?

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 7:05 p.m.

so lets do away with first degree murder? I mean if per-planning a murder then pulling it off by stabbing someone multiple times doesn't qualify what does? As it stands he can get out in 30 years at 74 and while a better part of his life will be over he can live another several years a free man. Given the facts of the case I think he should die in prison.

Basic Bob

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

It saved the citizens a lot of money avoiding a trial and appeals. It eliminated the risk he might be found not guilty. And his conviction and admission of guilt can be used in a civil case. Do you see a difference between 36 years and a life sentence? Apparently the prosecutor did not think it was significant.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

ya but why did "we the people" allow it? With premeditation evidently on his computer why didn't we the people pursue 1st degree? The guy can't just plea to whatever he feels like. 2nd degree was obviously offered.

Basic Bob

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

He pled guilty to second degree murder. There was no trial.

John of Saline

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

It amazes me when people write stuff down like this.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

It amazes me when people actually do (you know stab, bite, murder) stuff like this.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

"The death certificate cuts 'multiple stabbing wounds' as the cause of death, court records indicate. " I think that might be "cites."

John Counts

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Typo has been corrected. Thanks.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Some marriages are made in hell, and this was obviously one of them. Tragic results are not hard to predict.

Thomas S. Trias

Sat, Aug 10, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

No one saw this coming.


Thu, Jul 25, 2013 : 3:05 a.m.

I disagree, if you knew them, this one probably was hard to predict.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : noon

"Wow" is right. If there was a substantial amount of money involved, could there possibly have been other people involved in the "plot"?


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

I hear an insanity defense coming, something that includes how tired he was of having her tell him to "make a list".

Matt Cooper

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

"I would rather they institute the guillotine and do away with the appellate process." Yeah, NSider, because, you know, only the guilty ever go to prison, right? Study up on it a bit.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

You're right Basic, but you seem to have missed the entire point of my statement. Either that, or you are overly concerned with technicalities. Legal semantics (guilt or responsibility) are irrelevant to my point.

Basic Bob

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

OJ was responsible in the civil case. They don't judge guilt or innocence.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

John, I thnk what justcurious was getting at is that he already pled guilty to 2nd degree murder in the criminal case. Criminal cases have a higher standard than civil cases. You can't be guilty in a criminal case and insane in the civil case, if he wanted to use insanity he would have had to make that claim in the criminal case. Just like OJ, who was aquitted in the criminal case but guilty in the civil case.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

@bbb... What makes you think my comment is a joke? It is a SAD commentary on our Republic that we even consider allowing people to "get away with murder" because they have a reason, or they are ill or they are young. Guilty is GUILTY. All murder is wrong and all attempted murder is just as wrong, even attempted suicide. Build bigger prisons and throw them all in together, the crazies with the sickos, the old with the young. No, this isn't a joke comment, I would rather they institute the guillotine and do away with the appellate process.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

I totally agree, bbb.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

Some things just aren't funny to joke about.

John Counts

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

There could still be a civil trial, justcurious.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

"Trias was sentenced July 16 - two days before the suit was filed - to 30-36 years in a state prison after an earlier plea of guilty to second-degree murder. "


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.