Blood was splattered over the walls, and splashes of crimson covered the carpet and furniture when a housekeeper found Richard Porter's body inside his Upper Merion Township home in March.
Yesterday, a drug-addicted neighbor and family friend, James Nicolai, 25, pleaded guilty in the case to second-degree murder, burglary, robbery and related offenses, the Montgomery District Attorney's Office announced.
"We're very pleased, very satisfied with the result," said Deputy District Attorney Thomas W. McGoldrick. "This was a very vicious killing."
Under the plea deal, Nicolai faces life in prison without parole, McGoldrick said.
According to the affidavit, Nicolai, who had a drug problem, stabbed Porter multiple times in the face, neck, chest, arms, hands and back on March 12, after he broke into Porter's home on Woodhill Road near Croton Road to look for money.
After 10 minutes in the house, Porter returned from an MRI appointment in Norristown and confronted Nicolai, who told detectives he "got scared" and stabbed Porter with a knife he had with him. Nicolai left the house with Porter's jewelry, cell phone and cash from his pants pocket, and took off in his 2005 silver Chevrolet Tahoe.
Hours later, Philadelphia police officers Christopher Brennan and John Judge spotted a local drug dealer in the passenger side of Porter's car near Kensington Avenue and Somerset Street, according to court records.
When the driver, later identified as Nicolai, stopped at a traffic light, Brennan approached the car, opened the driver's door and told Nicolai to put the car in park. Instead, Nicolai drove into oncoming traffic with the officer partially in the car, and he attempted to steer the car into a pillar.
Nicolai eventually crashed the car into another vehicle and the officer was injured.
Nicolai pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on a police officer and related charges, and faces an additional 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted, McGoldrick said. "He did the right thing [yesterday] by admitting what he did and taking responsibility," McGoldrick added.