Real Names: Jacob and Dora Cohn
Nicknames: Jake (Jacob)
Location: Colonie, New York
Date: May 15, 1986
Details: Jake and Dora Cohn were an elderly couple living in Colonie, New York. At 9:50PM on May 15, 1986, Dora's daughter was on the phone with her when all of a sudden, she heard Dora scream for Jake, and then shots fired. She first called 911 and then her son, James Mariani. The two soon arrived at her mother's house to find that her parents had both been shot and killed. Dora still had the phone in her hand. Investigators found that the door had been kicked open. They also discovered shell casings on the floor.
James became a suspect when he knew the type of casings used in the murders. He was given a polygraph, and police were also suspicious because James had several friends who had criminal records. The police also interviewed Keith Snare and Robert Skinner, two men with whom James had done jail time. However, investigators did not have enough evidence to charge them, as all three had alibis.
Suspects: Two years would pass before Jake and Dora's daughter heard about psychic Noreen Renier and asked her to try and solve the case. Noreen started with Dora and told police that Dora was on the phone with her daughter and that she called out Jake when she was shot. She then mentioned Jake and described how he ran down a hallway and said that Jake realized who the killers were, and was then shot. She felt pain in her face at the same area where he had been shot.
Noreen then worked with a police hypnotist who claimed that the couple knew the killers, and that one of the killer's name had "S" in it. She then closed her eyes and went through pictures that the police gave her. She picked out three pictures; the first had nothing to do with the case, the second was Robert Skinner, and the third was James Mariani. Also, Robert's last name began with the letter "S".
Extra Notes: The air-date for this case is April 28, 1995. This case was solved prior to the broadcast; it was profiled to show Noreen Renier's psychic abilities.
Results: Solved. Police soon learned that Skinner's alibi did not hold up. It was soon determined that Mariani had conspired with Skinner and Snare to rob and murder his grandparents. Witnesses testified that the men had confessed to being involved in the robbery and murders. One witness stated that Mariani had tried to pawn coins that he had stolen from the home. All three men were convicted and are currently serving lengthy prison sentences, thanks, in part, to Noreen Renier.
- Slaying heard on phone - Daughter tells court of call to parents
- Cohn murder trial jury to continue deliberation
- People v. Mariani (1994)
- Mariani v. Kelly (1997)
- Former murder case foreman visits Porco trial