You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Officers describe grisly crime scene as husband faces trial in wife's stabbing death

By Kyle Feldscher

Jean-Pierre Trias stabbed his wife with two different knives, leaving her bloodied, bruised and lifeless body in a bathroom, police investigators testified in court Tuesday.


Jean Pierre Trias

Courtesy of the WCSO

Trias, 44, was ordered to trial on one charge of open murder, by 14A District Court Judge Richard Conlin. The decision came after nearly two hours of testimony at a preliminary exam, describing Katherine Porter’s death and laying out some of the evidence against Trias.

Pittsfield Township police Officer Shawn Vargo and Officer Aja Pattwell testified they arrived on Jan. 11 at the couple’s home in the 4700 block of Hickory Pointe Boulevard to check on Trias. Vargo said dispatchers told him Trias called his brother earlier that day and said he blacked out the night before, had injuries on his face and didn’t know if he hurt anyone.

Vargo and Pattwell went to the door and Trias answered, inviting them in. In seconds, the case went from a well-being check to a homicide investigation.

“Blood on the vanity, blood on the floor, blood on the walls … with the knife in her stomach still,” Vargo said, describing the scene in the home’s bathroom.

“There was blood everywhere,” Pattwell said later.

Vargo and Pattwell both testified Trias told them when he opened the door that he believed they were there to arrest him for what he did to his wife. However, audio played by Trias' lawyer, Joseph Simon, could not confirm that testimony. Trias can be heard saying "You’re going to arrest me now?" immediately after Pattwell notices Porter’s body, which was wedged between the vanity and the wall. A 20-second clip played multiple times in court was interrupted by police scanner traffic.

Thumbnail image for katherineporter.jpg

Katherine Porter

Huron Valley Ambulance paramedic Matthew Yono pronounced Porter dead after checking for a pulse and examining her reflexes.

Dr. Bader Cassin, Washtenaw County deputy medical examiner, said there were bruises, superficial cuts and three or four injuries that appeared to be bite marks on Porter’s body.

“My conclusion was she died from multiple stab wounds produced by two blades,” Cassin said.

It’s unknown at this point exactly how many times Porter was stabbed.

Cassin testified the wounds on Trias’ face, evident in his police mugshot from the case, are consistent with scratches from fingernails.

“They have the configuration and pattern of the dragging of a relatively sharp instrument, such as a fingernail,” Cassin said.

Simon declined to comment on the case after the hearing. Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Nimish Ganatra served as the state's representative in the case.

There was no testimony Tuesday about what transpired in the moments before Porter’s death. Nothing in Tuesday's testimony revealed a possible motive for the stabbing. Trias and Porter had been married since August 1995.

Trias filed for divorce in November 2010, but the couple reconciled. No evidence presented at this point has shown a history of domestic violence in the couple’s relationship.

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

A pretrial hearing was scheduled at 1:30 p.m. April 16 in front of Washtenaw County Trial Court Donald Shelton. Trias is being held without bond in the Washtenaw County Jail while the case is pending.

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



Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

I don't care how clear cut a case seems, he's still innocent until proven guilty and you make it sound like he's already been convicted. Next time say "allegedly". This website's news reporting is getting worse and worse lately.


Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

Personal Responsibility and Repentance: My family follows this tragic story from two different perspectives. I am Hindu-Brahmin and my paternal grandfather worked for the British Crown as a public prosecutor and he had always pleaded for a capital punishment for the crime called murder. My wife is a protestant Christian but attends the local Catholic Church and firmly endorses the Catholic belief in abolishing capital punishment. Since we have known J-P because of our son's affiliation with him, we seek his well-being as he faces this ordeal. But, we are surprised to read the opening sentence of this story. In the later part of the story it is reported that J-P had called his brother and told him that, "he didn't know if he hurt anyone." In my view, repentance for one's own actions is impossible without accepting personal responsibility for actions. My wife thinks that no man is truly perfect and that all of us have to seek repentance. In this story, it appears that it was the brother who had asked for police assistance, and J-P, who was present at home and had responded to the police when they arrived at his home, had not asked for any assistance if an injured person needs some help. While at my home we have fundamental disagreement on the issues of crime, punishment, and repentance; we are pained to notice this inability to accept personal responsibility for reporting a problem. There is a need to ask for help if a person is injured and this call for help does not mean admission of guilt.

Basic Bob

Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 4:31 a.m.

For someone who has committed a crime of this magnitude, accepting personal responsibility can be a process complicated by denial, self-preservation, and a good defense attorney.


Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Hey Kyle do you have any stats on how many times the "i blacked out" defense has been used in murder trials? If so, would you also have any demographic information, like the racial identity of defendants using it? Has anyone ever gotten off using it that as their alibi?

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

It's definitely a new one, Hmm. I can't say I've come across it in the homicide cases I've covered. I'm not sure if "I don't remember" is a viable defense, but I'll check it out.

Jon Wax

Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Didn't pittsfield twp. council give itself an award last year for their efforts on domestic violence? Guess it's not going as as well as it sounded Peace Wax


Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 3:12 a.m.

I thought only Doctors could "pronounce" someone dead, not EMTs. Obviously, an EMT can tell, but is it official if a Doc doesn't do it? Not sure how this got into my brain, maybe too much television in my youth.


Thu, Mar 7, 2013 : 4:12 a.m.

Not only doctors can pronounce death. My wife is a hospice RN. And she has to pronounce death of her patients and emts are also able to pronounce death.


Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

I think you are correct. In washtenaw county I believe a doctor has to pronounce the death. So the coroner was probably called, after EMT found nopulse or reflex's.Each county has their own rules they follow.


Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 2:28 a.m.

Prayers for her family and also for the officers and first responders that had to witness that scene. Cannot imagine how difficult that would be.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 10:45 p.m.

Prayers for Kathie's beautiful family and friends as they process everything. Including, JP's brother, who did the right thing and I'm sure is suffering as well. His decision could have been a life-saving one. It must be very difficult and painful for him also. Prayers for healing as they work through the grief process.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

I'm not taking this man's side, but how is reporting all this detail for anyone to read going towards a fair trial?


Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 2:55 a.m.

The simplest answer I can think of is that publishing the official police statements about the crime scene and what they said about the accused's behavior at the time of arrest isn't considered prejudicial. It's also up to the accused's attorneys to protest the publishing of such official statements. They may do that, they may not. Remember, it was police testimony and police evidence tampering that enabled the defense to set O.J. free. (I know one of the forensic scientists who provided proof of evidence tampering.) In another famous case, the Algiers Motel Killings, the judge decided to keep some evidence from the press and move the trial to another location so that "the community" where the crime took place could not threaten either the defendants or the jury (commit jury intimidation). It would be improper to speculate more on this particular case. In my own opinion, none of the above elements exist and I doubt anyone has serious grounds to protest publishing of the police report. It will be up to the defense and the judge in this case.

Sam S Smith

Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 2:18 a.m.

Thank you Michigan Reader and Tru2Blu76! Special thoughts and prayers for all in this terrible tragedy!

John Counts

Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 11:36 p.m.

Preliminary exams are held in open court. To have it any other way would be up to a judge. It's also important to point out that there is no certainty of a trial yet. A plea deal could be struck before it comes to that.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

I'm not sure why you got negative votes for your question. Maybe some people have an aversion to questions. But I think the release of testimony in this case is a matter of the judge's assessment of the mood of those in the area where the alleged murder is reported by news sources. With overwhelming evidence, getting a prejudiced jury is not generally a concern. If there's any significant doubt that the alleged perpetrator(s) will get off and the community believes they should not be let off, then picking non-prejudiced jury members is harder and the trial might be moved to a distant location where jury selection is a little easier. It's not just about protecting the innocent one on trial: jury members can be jeopardized for rendering a verdict which the community strongly disagrees with. In the O.J. Simpson case, the jury was compelled to release him because it was proven police tampered with evidence. (I know one of the forensic scientists who provided this proof.) So the community reacted violently against the jury - a clearly wrong reaction. In the end, it's up to the judge to decide whether or not evidence should be released to the public. I'm sure in this case, the judge knows the probable reaction of the public and the probable outcome of this particular trial. In the Algiers Motel Incident, there was wide publicity and the judge (whom I also knew personally) decided that it would be better for everyone if the trial was moved a significant distance from Detroit, where the alleged police murders took place. If the accused officers were to receive a fair trial, the jurors had to be free of intimidation by the community. And do keep in mind: secret trials are to be avoided if at all possible. So the public gets involved and you can see how volatile "public opinion" can be. Hope this helped, it's not simple.

Michigan Reader

Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

It doesn't, of course. A fair trial is the purview of the court, and includes (if they have integrity) the prosecutor and defense. has money to make posting news.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 9:19 p.m.

Well, my burning question is, why TWO KNIVES??


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

this puts a blemish on ann arbor, what a shame

Michigan Reader

Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

It happened outside of Ann Arbor, FYI.

Michigan Reader

Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

"This puts a blemish on Ann Arbor, what a shame," sounds like sarcasm, BUT this didn't happen in Ann Arbor.

Basic Bob

Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

It just shows you it could happen anywhere, even right down the street.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

What no bond for a man accused of cold blooded murder? Thats a different approach, maybe the judges are learning


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

i'm with u cinnabar...i understood ur sarcasm & the point ur trying to make!


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

Of course your sarcasm would mean something if it actually had any validity. When your "joke" was told, it wasn't even close to accurate. The LAW is that the person who attempted to kill somebody is PRESUMED innocent. That is not open to debate. Bail is only to assure their appearance.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

It was no joke Kyle, sorry I typed so fast you couldn't keep up.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

I was just presenting facts, cinnabar. I'm sorry that it ruined your joke.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Kyle I was being sarcastic, since just recently a man who shot another person 9 times and gets a low bail only to go out and kill a person who was a witness. We need the same policy for someone who TRIES to kill another person. Sorry my sarcasm went over your head, I'll type slower next time.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

cinnabar- It's actually the usual policy here in Washtenaw that people accused of murder are held without bond once they're charged.