COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions for the family and loved ones of a murdered Colonie barber.
Shawn Moreland, 32, and Michael Chmielewski, 23, were charged with Murder and Robbery in connection to the stabbing death of Colonie barber Jackie Porreca.
Police said the two men are admitted heroin addicts who needed money for drugs. Police said Moreland drove his vehicle to the barbershop on August 21, and Chmielewski entered the salon where Porreca was working. Chmielewski allegedly stabbed Porreca in the neck during the robbery. She died two days later.
Recycled Salon remains open, but Porreca’s coworkers and customers are struggling to cope. They said things will never be the same despite the arrests.
“It’s lonely,” salon owner Dave Belschwinder said. “I mean, there’s times where I miss her a lot, and that’s never going to go away.”
Belschwinder said he was relieved to know police arrested Moreland and Chmielewski, but the relief quickly faded away.
“I went to an angry stage, too, and I’m still kind of caught in the middle of all that,” he said.
Belschwinder said it’s been challenging to continue run his business with the reminder of his friend’s death there every day.
“Every day I’ve got to come in and look at that spot there, and it’s not easy,” he said. “And the customers got to come in here and look at that spot over there, and they’ve had to jump over many hurdles to do it, and it’s very painful for them.”
Robert Goo was one of Porreca’s customers. He arrived to the salon Tuesday night with tears in his eyes. He finds comfort in his memories of Porreca.
“She was jovial and happy all the time, and she always had a smile on her face and always upbeat and you wanted to be around an environment like this,” he said.
Belschwinder is still troubled he wasn’t at the salon the day Porreca was killed.
“I wonder if they really knew that I wasn’t here; that she was here by herself,” he said.
But Belschwinder said her spirit remains at the salon.
“I mean, I’m still listening to all the music that she picked on Spotify,” he said. “You know, every day she lives on here.”
Belschwinder said he plans to start a scholarship fund in Porreca’s name.
Both Moreland and Chmielewski remain in the Albany County Jail without bail. Police said they stole between $500 and $800 the day of the crime. The money has not been recovered.