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Posted on Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Convicted killer struggled with alcohol, father's death before murdering wife

By Kyle Feldscher

This much is clear: Jean-Pierre Trias is spending at least the next 30 years in the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility for murdering his wife, Katherine Porter.


Jean-Pierre Trias, seen in his prison mugshot.

Courtesy of MDCO

However, what exactly led to Trias, 45, stabbing his wife to death, leaving as many as 69 individual injuries to her body, before police responded on Jan. 11 to their home in the 4700 block of Hickory Pointe Drive in Pittsfield Township, still isn’t known.

The police report obtained by through a Freedom of Information Act request provides a few clues on possible contributing factors. In it, friends and family members lay bare Trias’ struggles with drinking, coping with the death of his father and his past issues with their marriage.

Porter was found dead in the home after Trias called his brother, telling him that he “blacked out” the night before and didn’t know if he hurt someone. But on the day of his arrest, Detective Jason Hoehner wrote that Trias seemed normal.

“During my encounter with Trias, he showed no signs of emotional distress, mental health issues, desire to harm himself or others, or any outward signs of emotion other than calm, engaging and cooperative,” Hoehner wrote.

The marriage


Katherine Porter

File photo

Trias and Porter were married in August 1995. The two shared a love of traveling, board games and deep strategy games, according to Paul Horvath, a math lecturer at Eastern Michigan University, where he was a colleague of Trias, who worked part-time as a coordinator of math tutoring and testing services and as a graduate assistant.

Another friend, John McKinnon, said the couple was pleasant and happy, did favors for each other and clearly showed affection.

Yet there were underlying issues in the marriage. According to the police report, Trias said he felt penned up in the past and, in 2010, filed for divorce and moved out of the couple’s home. Sarah Porter, Katherine Porter’s sister, told police he was sometimes arrogant.

“(Sarah Porter) stated that she was not aware of any domestic violence issues going on between Katherine and JP,” the report stated. “Sarah stated that JP did have a temper, was very competitive and would get irrational about issues over his own insecurities. Sarah stated that JP was very arrogant and felt he was better than he was.

“She used examples of him being unemployed and his belief that he could get younger attractive women.”

Her sister, Martha Porter, added, “The way JP acted and treated everyone was that he only mattered,” the report stated.

No one interviewed by police said they had ever seen evidence of domestic violence in the relationship. Both Porter and Trias had tempers, but the two apparently apparently never directed their ire at each other physically.

JP’s issues

Many friends and family members pointed toward the death of Trias’ father as a major moment in his life that sent him away from Porter and toward the bottle.

Multiple people told police Trias began drinking heavily around the time of his father’s death and during the divorce proceedings in 2010. During that year, he traveled often to Puerto Rico — where his family is originally from — to take care of his father’s estate.

Tracey Kocik, a close friend of Trias, told police the couple never had any drastic relationship problems. Porter was dedicated to her job and often worked long hours, time she couldn’t spend with Trias, and that weighed on him, according to Kocik.

“(Kocik) stated that she never knew of any single reason for JP leaving, but rather a build up of things being incompatible with her working all the time and his father dying,” the report stated.

However, it looked like things had turned for the better in late 2012. Sarah Porter told police that Trias and Porter spent Christmas with their family and everything seemed fine. Friends told police they thought the issues had passed and that Trias had seemed happier in recent months.

But something changed in Trias in the days before the murder.

His mother, Jennie Trias, told police she spoke with him on the phone every day from Jan. 6 until Jan. 10 and he seemed emotional. The last time she spoke with him before his arrest was around 9 p.m. on Jan. 10, when he told her he had been going to detox for alcohol treatment and, through tears, told her “I turned into my father, help me.”

By the next day, Porter’s body was bloodied and bruised in the couple’s home. Police found blood on bottles of Johnnie Walker Red and Goldschlager when they performed a search warrant.

A brutal death

The autopsy performed by Washtenaw County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Bader Cassin showed 69 wounds on Porter’s body.

Trias left a 10-inch knife in her stomach. A second knife had broken off in her skull. There were bite marks on her and a bruise on her right eye.

Trias’ face was left injured with marks consistent with fingernail scratches. Her sister, Martha Porter, doesn’t think she went down with out a fight.

Martha Porter's "sister was always a fighter and would fight to her death,” the police report stated. “Katherine Porter had long fingernails and would leave scratches if she were to fight.”

At 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 11, Trias called his brother Tom and was “unnaturally calm,” according to the report. A few hours later, the two spoke again and Trias was upset. He told his brother he blacked out the night before, had wounds on his body and didn’t know if he hurt anyone.

Trias knew he did something — he had researched local defense attorneys online and phoned the Simon and Gehrein law firm before his arrest. Joe Simon would eventually represent him during his case.

During a search of his computer, police found a to-do list, where the last line was “Kill Kathie Kill Kathie Kill Kathie!” Other items on the to-do list were as simple as grading, prepping for classes, solving mathematical problems and distributing T-shirts.

Trias had last modified the list on Jan. 5, at least five days before Porter’s death.

When he was arrested, Trias declined to speak to police because he wanted to have a lawyer present. He was never interviewed and, when he spoke in court, never gave a clue as to what possible motivation he had for killing his wife. More answers may yet come: Trias is being sued by Porter’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Still, those close to the couple find it hard to believe that Trias was himself when he made the decision to kill Porter.

“Something in JP broke for him to have done this,” Kocik said.

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



Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

These are not signs of insanity but signs of sociopathy and/or anti-social personality disorder and narcissism. And, typical traits of an abuser. There are no typical traits for a victim. Domestic violence harms all demographics. I can't say for sure whether there was past physical or mental abuse. Of all people, I never would have guessed Kathie was going through any kind of domestic abuse. She always seemed so strong. But, it is not uncommon for the family and friends of a victim to not know. Abusers are very good at manipulating, even people as smart, strong, and pulled-together as Kathie. They know how to not only manipulate their victims but their family and friends as well. Those who get away with abusing without being caught are the best and, sometimes the most dangerous. I don't think anything 'broke' or that he was 'not himself' or 'something changed' in him. I think that the real him has finally been seen. Alcohol and life's hardships are not an excuse for violence against others. Many people are able to drink and go through hardships without being excessively violent towards those closest to them. I didn't really know JP but, I knew Kathie. Her murder was an absolute shock. I loved and respected her and she had such a great heart. Even if she called JP out on his BS, or worked long hours as an escape from him, she absolutely in no way deserved this.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 2:22 a.m.

I like how you can put words in my mouth and jump to all manner of unsupported conclusions about my beliefs and the life of someone who is no longer around to defend herself and think it's ok, and when I point out that you are mostly making things up and engaging in wild speculation, my perfectly respectful comment gets deleted.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 5:16 a.m.

Not seeing where I was insulted says quite a bit. Your first response was removed by Somemebody is not less if they are the victim of domestic violence. Saying somebody was the victim of domestic violence is not an offensive thing. There is nothing wrong with either SafeHouse or being a woman who was a victim of domestic violence. Based on your response to another commentor in this article, it seems that you think that most victims are only "claiming" to be victims and are unjustly protected. And, based on your deleted comment that, those who speak against domestic violence think that all women are only helpless victims of abusive men. If, and I say IF Kathie experienced domestic abuse prior to her brutal murder I am not okay with what you are saying here. If she did experience abuse prior to her murder that does not mean there was anything wrong with her because of it. Also, "the woman's" name is Kathie, with an ie not a y.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

Also, Solitude, this article in itself is speculation on what Kathie's life was like. Written by people who very likely had no relationship with or personal knowledge of Kathie and JP until after Kathie was murdered, apparently neither did you. Until you have gotten that Saturday morning email from a family member telling you that somebody you cared about is now dead, until you have experienced the grief and shock over their loss and the relization that you will never again see them or hear their laughter or enjoy their great sense of humor, until you have wondered... Why? How? And, thought, maybe there was some mistake and it's not really true. Later to find out that not only is it true but, it's much, much worse than you could have ever imagined. Until you feel so much pain thinking about what they must have gone through. Until you read people blindly defending the person who did it and saying, "he never would have done such a thing", and there must be some good explination. Until you wonder if there was something you could have done to prevent it. Until, nine months later you still see the visible pain others are going through because of the loss of such a wonderful person. Until then, you have no right to tell me what my rights are. "So anyone who points out that your personal history, whatever it involves, has nothing to do with this woman's life or tragic murder is insulting to you?" My personal history involves Kathie and her tragic murder.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

Solitude, I think the thing in your comments that I feel the most offense over is your insistence on referring to Kathie as, "this woman" or "the woman".


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

So anyone who points out that your personal history, whatever it involves, has nothing to do with this woman's life or tragic murder is insulting you? I fail to see where you were insulted, except perhaps in your own mind, and I also fail to see where anyone is denying or disputing the facts about domestic violence. Again, any connection to long-term DV issues in this poor woman's life so far do not exist, and you have no right to speculate that they do.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 5:28 a.m.

No, "the woman", is not here to refute anybody. Kathie was murdered in cold blood by...her husband!! That in itself constitutes both domestic abuse and violence. I don't have any need to recitate any domestic abuse pamphlet because I lived the textbook case and, believe it or not, those who are victims of domestic abuse and violence can be educated and intelligent and, believe it or not, can speak for themselves. Does being the victim of an abuser make somebody less of a person? No, absolutely not. So, what is your issue? I am not casting, "this woman," as anything but a wonderful, strong, loving person who I respect and miss dearly, as do many, many others. I am not suggesting anything about Kathie's life except that it was very valuable and she is dearly missed. I am saying who I know she was and what I know about domestic violence. I knew Kathie well enough to not worry about what "the woman", or "this woman", would think about this comment.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 5:09 a.m.

I'll try again. although I am very frustrated with's censorship at this point. I did not use foul language or blame a victim or directly insult another commentor, at least not any more than I was insulted.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 4:21 a.m.

Who are you to cast this woman as anything other than a murder a victim after her death? Regardless of your recitation of the domestic abuse pamphlet, any relationship to this case is based purely on your speculation. The woman's not here to refute you, so you should not be suggesting things about her life you have no basis for.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 4:21 a.m.

Being the wonderful, straight-forward, no-nonsense, loving and caring person she was, Kathie had a heart of gold. Sadly, I think that is one of the biggest characteristics of adult abuse victims. They care, a lot, and they want to help. Definitely not a flaw. The flaw is the abuser's desire to take what is good and use it towards their own selfish purposes. I won't get into my opinions on abusers of children beyond the fact that children who live in homes with spousal abuse are far more likely to suffer all kinds of abuse themselves. No child should have to grow-up in a home with an abuser, under the influence of an abuser, with an abusive person in charge of their home or, watching somebody they love being abused. The affects are often devastating.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 3:52 a.m.

Solitude 1. Mental and Verbal abuse very often leads to physical abuse. There is no telling how lethal the first act of physical abuse will be. If the victim is lucky, the first will not be their last. But, there is no telling whether their last will be the first, third, or 99th instance. 2. It is not at all uncommon for domestic violence to not be reported by the victim for many, many reasons. Either to authorities or friends and family. Whether it is out of fear for their or their children's safety, fear of social, emotional, physical or legal retaliation, fear of harming and betraying their abuser, fear of the unknown, fear of their loved ones believing their abuser over themselves, fear of being thought less of for allowing themselves to be a victim, etc. etc. etc. 3. Abusers find a person's weaknesses and fears and prey on them and use them to gain control over their victims. 4. No, not every female lives her life as some helpless victim of an abusing male. There are very, very good men out there. It is not only men who abuse. Abusers can also be women. I have no doubts on that. Also, not every child lives their life as the victim of an abusing parent. 5. I don't know everything you have 'learned' about Kathie. But, I know that she could be tough on the outside but, she was loving and giving on the inside. A good abuser and manipulator can use that against ANYONE. 6. "Safehouse dogma", nope. I respect and appreciate Safehouse and they do so much but, they are not the primary reason my children and I are finally free from our abuser. 7. Do not underestimate the affects of domestic abuse on children. The trauma it can cause is devastating. "Safehouse dogma", do you have something against Safehouse for some reason? I assure you, this is not "Safehouse dogma" but reality for many.

Basic Bob

Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 12:07 a.m.

A 44-year old man has a life expectancy of 34.6 years. It is estimated that prison reduces life expectancy by one year for every year served. Chances of him getting out are remote.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Lots of people struggle with alcoholism. Everybody's father dies eventually, but none of those people end up committing murder.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

We all have had our problems in does not explain, justify, or mitigate someone killing another person. No sympathy here.....go to jail.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

Spiritualism vs Violence: The concept of spiritualism that I describe is based upon my understanding of man's nature. Man is a created being and is established in the world as a spiritual being. Spiritualism is about man having a soul and spirit and it is not about attending church or some other place of religious worship. Man's violent behavior can be explained as man's alienation from his own true spiritual nature. Such alienation is the product of ignorance and the evidence for ignorance would be seen in the nature of erratic behavior that is displayed. As the story reveals, JP had prepared a list of items or tasks to perform, and one of them was to kill his wife. On completion of this task, he could plan to seek the help of an attorney. All these tasks could be performed if, and only if there is full, functional harmony within the multicellular human organism. Because of his alienation from his true, or real self, he could not discern good from evil while he still had some capacity to know right from wrong. If he is living today in a prison, it is not because of his physical, or intellectual capacity. Human existence is possible during the operation of a vital, animating principle called Soul and Spirit.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Enlighten us, O great poobah!


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

Awww, poor guy, his Father died, and he turned to alcohol. I have no sympathy for him. He murdered another human being. Let him rot in prison.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 6:12 a.m.

John, when I first saw the headline I thought otherwise.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 7:05 p.m.

I could be wrong of course, but I don't think the reason for detailing this guy's history is to elicit sympathy for him.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

The article mentions he filed for divorce and there were "proceedings," but it doesn't say whether they actually went through with it. Did they?


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

@Kyle....they reconciled......yipes!


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

Interesting....thank you.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

Solitude - They did not, they reconciled.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

List all the reasons/excuses you want, he still took a life and was at all times responsible for his actions.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

Well hey Basic, if I un-mask my swearing the censors will be on it like a duck on a june bug.....

Basic Bob

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

masked swearing?


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. 30 years is nowhere near what this (insert colorful name here) deserves. he should never ever see the light of day as a free "man" again!!


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

The difference between insanity and irrationality. Not that big of a jump, is it?


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 2:48 a.m.

Johnnya2, you can have whatever opinions you want about the actions of this prosecutor, but you have no idea what my background is, so spare me your uninformed judgements about what I know and don't know. These are the same "morons" who trumped up a felony on a kid in a football fight, on what was a misdemeanor battery at best, and were more than willing to blow hundreds of thousands to take that to trial. They are also the same "morons" who refuse to prosecute women for domestic violence unless the women actually kill someone, because they are afraid of Safehouse; who refuse to prosecute just about anybody for false reporting of felonies, especially women who make false CSC reports; and who routinely refuse to prosecute resisting arrest and assaults on police officers and other emergency personnel. Plea deals have their place. This was not one of those places.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

Solitude, You have no idea what you are talking about so get off the list idea and realize they got a CONVICTION. It is only a moron who would rather spend time and money on a trial rather than make sure he is in prison.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

You're right, Halflight, but he was smart enough to do it in Washtenaw County, where even shopping for your defense lawyer in advance and leaving yourself a reminder to commit the crime aren't enough to get you a 1st degree murder conviction.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

There's actually a big difference between legal insanity and irrationality. From all the evidence I've seen, Trias wasn't legally insane. The facts are that he planned his action and searched for a defense attorney immediately after the murder. That shows that he was aware of what he was doing and the wrongfulness of his actions. If irrationality was a defense to murder, very few murderers would be convicted.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

The guy is a cold-blooded killer, as evidenced by his "to-do" list.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

There's a slight mention of him in court but nothing that says what the outcome was... was he convicted or did he plead guilty?


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 6:05 a.m.

Solitude, he is not getting out of jail anytime soon. As I earlier bet so much on his guilt and the unmistakable fact that the wounds on his face were caused by Kathie's nails, I would be willing to bet the same that he will die in prison. And, Kathie's loved ones were spared the trial. Whether you think it was domestic violence or not (see below) defense attorneys are still very good at getting away with at least desperately attempting to blame the victim.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 3:02 a.m.

This article does not say it, but I found and read a previous article about the sentencing and found the plea specifies he has to serve a minimum of 30 years, so at least that is something. I still don't think a guy who stabbed his innocent spouse 70 times and left an overwhelming trail of evidence of his guilt should be allowed to plead to a lesser charge.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

It does not say it in this article, but a previous article about the sentencing I just found an read says the plea deal specifies at a minimum of 30 years, so that at least is something. I still don't think somebody who stabbed his innocent spouse more than 70 times and left an overwhelming trail of evidence should be offered a plea deal.


Sat, Sep 7, 2013 : 2:35 a.m.

The first difference is the possibility of parole. This guy's 45, and with a 2nd deg. conviction he could be easily be out in 7 to 10 years. The second difference is that premeditated murder is the murder in the 1st degree, not in the 2nd degree, and this is not OJ or Casey Anthony or George Zimmerman or any other made-for-TV Hollywood side show. A murder to-do list is a slam dunk 1st degree case, and a competent attorney has no fear of going to court, and I'm already quite familiar with the reasoning behind plea deals. If you were a member of the dead woman's family, the difference between a 1st degree conviction with no possibility of parole and a 2nd degree conviction is pretty large. What's the difference if the guy is freed on a "technicality" or freed on parole? This is the same prosecutor's office that was going to take a trumped up felony assault case he had no hope of winning to trial against a kid who swung a crutch during a football game, yet he offers a cold-blooded murderer a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Basic Bob

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

"Are they completely incapable of trying a case?" The prosecutor knew what he was doing. Would you have felt better if he was convicted of first degree and then freed on a technicality? There is no risk of that now.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

Solitude, What would the difference be? He is in jail for at least 30 years. Should the prosecutor spend TIME and MONEY prosecuting a case that could end up with something worse. The idea behind a plea is to get it out of the system quickly. He now has no ability to get appeals. If you think having a list makes convicting him easier you obviously have not been paying attention. Go see how well those strategies worked with OJ Simpson, Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Second degree? Really? The guy makes a list that includes a reminder to kill his wife, and the Washtenaw County Prosecutor offers him 2nd degree? Exactly how pathetic are they over there? Are they completely incapable of trying a case? That's really offensive. If leaving yourself a note to remind yourself to kill someone isn't premeditated murder, what is?

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

He pleaded to second-degree murder.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

I know he's not out walking around but I'm more interested in if he was convicted by a jury or if he pled.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

The title says, "Convicted killer" and the first line says he will be spending the next 30 years in the Bellamy Creek Correctional facility.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 10:23 a.m.

This is just so sad. I find it hard to understand. If I say more I will be deleted so I shall leave it as is.


Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

I agree, its very sad. The detail of the state this poor woman was found in made me cringe at the thought of what she faced in her final moments...