pleaded guilty to stabbing and murdering his wife in Pittsfield Township, has been sentenced to up to 36 years in a state prison."/>

Ann Arbor Journal > News

PITTSFIELD TWP: Jean-Pierre Trias sentenced to 30-36 years for murdering his wife

Jean Pierre Trias (Photo courtesy of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office)

Jean-Pierre Trias, who pleaded guilty to stabbing and murdering his wife in Pittsfield Township, has been sentenced to up to 36 years in a state prison.

On Tuesday, Washtenaw County circuit court Judge Donald Shelton sentenced him to serve between 30 and 36 years.

Family members of Katherine Porter, Trias’ 53-year-old wife, told the court they believe the defendant deserved life in prison.

Trias, a 44-year-old Pittsfield Township man and former Eastern Michigan University math lecturer, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on June 18 during a pre-trial hearing before Shelton. At this hearing, when asked if he murdered his wife, Trias admitted to stabbing her with two knives until she was dead.

He was arrested after the victim was found dead by officers sent to perform a welfare check at about 4:46 p.m. Jan. 11 in the 4700 block of Hickory Pointe Boulevard, according to the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety.

Trias was given a chance to speak before sentencing after victim impact statements made some members of Porter’s family. He said there’s not a moment that goes by that he doesn’t regret his actions.

“I have done a horrid, horrid thing,” he said.

He believes the punishment he’s receiving is just, but said he knows it won’t make up for his wife being gone or everything he has destroyed.

“This is the most horrid thing I’ve ever done,” Trias said.

He said there’s no way he’d ever conceive of doing it again. Continued...

Shelton said he had overwhelming sensations of sadness and anger when he read a report on the case before the sentencing.

One thing he said he’s learned since he became a circuit court judge in 1990 is that, ironically, the cases with the worst violence are done by people who profess to love the victim.

“This is the worst example of this that I’ve ever seen,” he said.

The judge said he will abide by the sentencing agreement and won’t second guess the decisions of the defense and prosecuting attorneys. He noted the minimum sentence significantly exceeds what the standard maximum sentence would typically be.

Joseph Simon, Trias’ attorney, said they worked out an agreement above the sentencing guidelines of the charge and that his client accepts responsibility of this sentence range.

Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Nimish Ganatra said they did reach this agreement and the prosecution believes a 30 year minimum sentence is fair.

Under the plea agreement, the original open murder charge was dismissed.

Shelton said he made the choice to use his authority to triple the restitution amount requested for the family’s funeral expenses and grief counseling, resulting in a total fee of $14,796. Trias will also be responsible for about $1,600 in court costs and some other fees.

Robert Porter, Katherine Porter’s father, said he hasn’t seen any remorse from Trias and believes what he did are the actions of a sociopath. He said he believes Trias should get life in prison.

The death of a daughter is a terrible thing and the death of a daughter by her husband is even worse, he said. He said the death of a daughter who was stabbed 64 times is horrendous. Continued...

According to statements made in court, one knife was left in her abdomen while part of a second knife broke off in her skull.

The family showed Shelton a photo of Porter with her two younger sisters, Martha and Sarah Porter, who also both addressed the court.

Martha, the middle sister, said Kathie has been part of her life since she was born. She was funny, generous and kind, Martha Porter said. They shared a love for gardening and collecting rocks, she said, and when she went to Kathie’s Pittsfield Township house she noticed every rock lining the garden there was one they had collected together.

“It seems almost inconceivable that she is gone,” Martha Porter said. “A kind, loving, generous person is gone from this Earth, and my life and my family’s lives will never be the same.”

The murder was also hard on members of Trias’ family, Martha Porter said, and she feels for them too.

In June, Martha Porter said she learned Trias had kept a to-do list on his computer for work purposes, but the final item read: “Kill Kathie, Kill Kathie, Kill Kathie.” The file was edited several days before the murder, she said.

Sarah, Kathie’s youngest sister, said she believes there were clear signs this was premeditated murder.

Sarah said the murder has damaged their family and it feels like they’ve lost their center.

“She was the glue that held us together,” Martha Porter said.

Every day they ask how Trias could have killed her and left her body in the house for 18 hours, Sarah said. Continued...

Her two young sons are devastated by Kathie’s death, she said, but she and her husband haven’t told them the circumstances of how she died. She said they will need to know, but asked what words can she use to explain what their uncle did to their aunt. She said she fears they won’t ever be able to completely trust someone they know again.

“We are horrified he did this,” Sarah said.

She feels it’s disgusting that Trias communicated with two women and went on the computer to research defense attorneys online while Kathie lay dead, she said.

“I believe J.P. deserved life in prison,” Sarah said.

She asked what would stop him from murdering someone else after he gets out of prison.

“What can I say that reflects the horror of what you did other than what the family already did,” Shelton said to Trias after the victim impact statements.

Ganatra said this truly was a senseless murder. He said Katherine Porter was a caring person and she was at home, her sanctuary, where she should have been safe when she died very unexpectedly at the hands of her husband.

As some of Porter’s family stated, Ganatra said Trias’ behavior afterward was also shocking. He said Trias used his computer to look up certain things, including pornography, and he communicated with some people, including family members. It was actually a member of Trias’ family who prompted police to see what happened, Ganatra said.

The defendant has been held without bond in the Washtenaw County Jail since his arrest throughout court proceedings.

Trias taught math classes for EMU as a part-time lecturer off and on between Sept. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2012, according to an EMU spokesman. He wasn’t set to teach anything at EMU in the spring semester, but he did teach during the previous fall semester.

He previously held the part-time position of coordinator of mathematics, tutoring and testing services for EMU from Aug. 30, 2004, to Jan. 15, 2011, according to the university.

Officer Shawn Vargo and Officer Aja Pattwell, Pittsfield Township police, both previously testified that they responded Jan. 11 for a request to check on the welfare of someone named J.P.

Vargo, speaking at the at the March 5 preliminary examination of the evidence against the defendant in 14A District Court, said police dispatch learned Trias called his brother earlier that day and told him he blacked out and was uncertain if he hurt anyone after noticing scratches on his face.

A man the officers saw inside the home on Hickory Pointe Boulevard opened the door as they arrived and he identified himself as Trias, Pattwell said, who she confirmed was the J.P. they were sent to check on. He invited them into the residence and asked if they were there to arrest him, Vargo said.

Pattwell said both she and Vargo were both confused why Trias said that and they asked him why. Both officers testified that Trias pointed to his right and said because of what he did to his wife.

Vargo said he observed a woman, Porter, with a large kitchen knife in her stomach lying between the wall and vanity in a bathroom near the home’s entrance. There was a large amount of blood on the areas of the floor, vanity and wall.

Trias was advised he was under arrest and Vargo said he placed him in handcuffs. When he did so, he said he noticed there were some injuries including scratches on Trias’ hands.

Dr. Bader Cassin, deputy medical examiner with the Washtenaw County medical examiner’s office, testified at the preliminary exam on the autopsy he performed Feb. 12 on Porter.

She died from numerous stab wounds caused by two different blades, Cassin said. He said there were three to four overlapping bite marks on her left forearm and there was also some bruising on her body.

Cassin said he ruled her death a homicide.

He also testified on the scratches visible on Trias’ face at the time of his arrest. Cassin said the scratches are consistent with wounds caused by something like fingernails.

Staff Writer Ben Baird can be reached at 734-429-7380, bbaird@heritage.com or via Twitter @BenBaird1.
Jean-Pierre Trias, who pleaded guilty to stabbing and murdering his wife in Pittsfield Township, has been sentenced to up to 36 years in a state prison.

On Tuesday, Washtenaw County circuit court Judge Donald Shelton sentenced him to serve between 30 and 36 years.

Family members of Katherine Porter, Trias’ 53-year-old wife, told the court they believe the defendant deserved life in prison.

Trias, a 44-year-old Pittsfield Township man and former Eastern Michigan University math lecturer, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on June 18 during a pre-trial hearing before Shelton. At this hearing, when asked if he murdered his wife, Trias admitted to stabbing her with two knives until she was dead.

He was arrested after the victim was found dead by officers sent to perform a welfare check at about 4:46 p.m. Jan. 11 in the 4700 block of Hickory Pointe Boulevard, according to the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety.

Trias was given a chance to speak before sentencing after victim impact statements made some members of Porter’s family. He said there’s not a moment that goes by that he doesn’t regret his actions.

“I have done a horrid, horrid thing,” he said.

He believes the punishment he’s receiving is just, but said he knows it won’t make up for his wife being gone or everything he has destroyed.

“This is the most horrid thing I’ve ever done,” Trias said.

He said there’s no way he’d ever conceive of doing it again.

Shelton said he had overwhelming sensations of sadness and anger when he read a report on the case before the sentencing.

One thing he said he’s learned since he became a circuit court judge in 1990 is that, ironically, the cases with the worst violence are done by people who profess to love the victim.

“This is the worst example of this that I’ve ever seen,” he said.

The judge said he will abide by the sentencing agreement and won’t second guess the decisions of the defense and prosecuting attorneys. He noted the minimum sentence significantly exceeds what the standard maximum sentence would typically be.

Joseph Simon, Trias’ attorney, said they worked out an agreement above the sentencing guidelines of the charge and that his client accepts responsibility of this sentence range.

Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Nimish Ganatra said they did reach this agreement and the prosecution believes a 30 year minimum sentence is fair.

Under the plea agreement, the original open murder charge was dismissed.

Shelton said he made the choice to use his authority to triple the restitution amount requested for the family’s funeral expenses and grief counseling, resulting in a total fee of $14,796. Trias will also be responsible for about $1,600 in court costs and some other fees.

Robert Porter, Katherine Porter’s father, said he hasn’t seen any remorse from Trias and believes what he did are the actions of a sociopath. He said he believes Trias should get life in prison.

The death of a daughter is a terrible thing and the death of a daughter by her husband is even worse, he said. He said the death of a daughter who was stabbed 64 times is horrendous.

According to statements made in court, one knife was left in her abdomen while part of a second knife broke off in her skull.

The family showed Shelton a photo of Porter with her two younger sisters, Martha and Sarah Porter, who also both addressed the court.

Martha, the middle sister, said Kathie has been part of her life since she was born. She was funny, generous and kind, Martha Porter said. They shared a love for gardening and collecting rocks, she said, and when she went to Kathie’s Pittsfield Township house she noticed every rock lining the garden there was one they had collected together.

“It seems almost inconceivable that she is gone,” Martha Porter said. “A kind, loving, generous person is gone from this Earth, and my life and my family’s lives will never be the same.”

The murder was also hard on members of Trias’ family, Martha Porter said, and she feels for them too.

In June, Martha Porter said she learned Trias had kept a to-do list on his computer for work purposes, but the final item read: “Kill Kathie, Kill Kathie, Kill Kathie.” The file was edited several days before the murder, she said.

Sarah, Kathie’s youngest sister, said she believes there were clear signs this was premeditated murder.

Sarah said the murder has damaged their family and it feels like they’ve lost their center.

“She was the glue that held us together,” Martha Porter said.

Every day they ask how Trias could have killed her and left her body in the house for 18 hours, Sarah said.

Her two young sons are devastated by Kathie’s death, she said, but she and her husband haven’t told them the circumstances of how she died. She said they will need to know, but asked what words can she use to explain what their uncle did to their aunt. She said she fears they won’t ever be able to completely trust someone they know again.

“We are horrified he did this,” Sarah said.

She feels it’s disgusting that Trias communicated with two women and went on the computer to research defense attorneys online while Kathie lay dead, she said.

“I believe J.P. deserved life in prison,” Sarah said.

She asked what would stop him from murdering someone else after he gets out of prison.

“What can I say that reflects the horror of what you did other than what the family already did,” Shelton said to Trias after the victim impact statements.

Ganatra said this truly was a senseless murder. He said Katherine Porter was a caring person and she was at home, her sanctuary, where she should have been safe when she died very unexpectedly at the hands of her husband.

As some of Porter’s family stated, Ganatra said Trias’ behavior afterward was also shocking. He said Trias used his computer to look up certain things, including pornography, and he communicated with some people, including family members. It was actually a member of Trias’ family who prompted police to see what happened, Ganatra said.

The defendant has been held without bond in the Washtenaw County Jail since his arrest throughout court proceedings.

Trias taught math classes for EMU as a part-time lecturer off and on between Sept. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2012, according to an EMU spokesman. He wasn’t set to teach anything at EMU in the spring semester, but he did teach during the previous fall semester.

He previously held the part-time position of coordinator of mathematics, tutoring and testing services for EMU from Aug. 30, 2004, to Jan. 15, 2011, according to the university.

Officer Shawn Vargo and Officer Aja Pattwell, Pittsfield Township police, both previously testified that they responded Jan. 11 for a request to check on the welfare of someone named J.P.

Vargo, speaking at the at the March 5 preliminary examination of the evidence against the defendant in 14A District Court, said police dispatch learned Trias called his brother earlier that day and told him he blacked out and was uncertain if he hurt anyone after noticing scratches on his face.

A man the officers saw inside the home on Hickory Pointe Boulevard opened the door as they arrived and he identified himself as Trias, Pattwell said, who she confirmed was the J.P. they were sent to check on. He invited them into the residence and asked if they were there to arrest him, Vargo said.

Pattwell said both she and Vargo were both confused why Trias said that and they asked him why. Both officers testified that Trias pointed to his right and said because of what he did to his wife.

Vargo said he observed a woman, Porter, with a large kitchen knife in her stomach lying between the wall and vanity in a bathroom near the home’s entrance. There was a large amount of blood on the areas of the floor, vanity and wall.

Trias was advised he was under arrest and Vargo said he placed him in handcuffs. When he did so, he said he noticed there were some injuries including scratches on Trias’ hands.

Dr. Bader Cassin, deputy medical examiner with the Washtenaw County medical examiner’s office, testified at the preliminary exam on the autopsy he performed Feb. 12 on Porter.

She died from numerous stab wounds caused by two different blades, Cassin said. He said there were three to four overlapping bite marks on her left forearm and there was also some bruising on her body.

Cassin said he ruled her death a homicide.

He also testified on the scratches visible on Trias’ face at the time of his arrest. Cassin said the scratches are consistent with wounds caused by something like fingernails.

Staff Writer Ben Baird can be reached at 734-429-7380, bbaird@heritage.com or via Twitter @BenBaird1.

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