VOORHEESVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — More than a year after the tragic murder of Jacquelyn Porreca, family and friends are finally celebrating her life and putting her to rest.
In Aug. 2015, Porreca was stabbed to death during a robbery at Recycled Salon in Colonie, where she was working as a barber. Police say it was fueled by drugs.
Michael Chmielewski has accepted a plea deal admitting he killed Porreca. He will face 22 years to life in prison.
Sean Moreland has admitted to helping Chmielewski drive away. He is already sentenced to eight years for another burglary, and he accepted a plea deal of two to six years running at the same time as the other sentence.
Saturday afternoon was about memorializing Porreca.
“She’d look at me and she’d go, you know, if there’s one thing I could do out of anything in this world, it’s to just help everybody, make everybody happy,” Porreca’s fiance, Mickey Myers, said.
Myers was holding back tears as he talked about the love of his life.
“Now she can do that. She can help everybody here,” Myers said — something he’s waited more than a year to say since Porreca was brutally murdered.
Her family and friends felt the time was right to hold a memorial and celebrate her life.
They did so through music, prayer and story-telling.
Porreca’s sister, Lucia Falciano shared fun stories from a past Thanksgiving.
“She said how there isn’t enough salt in the potatoes and gave me a nasty look,” Lucia said. “She kept eating them, stuffing her mouth because she loved to eat. This was the woman who can eat more steak than any man.”
Porreca’s two other sisters talked about her giving character.
“She made people feel good with the warmth that was authentic and a laugh that was infectious,” Janeah Rosecrans, said. “Jackie always told us that we have to make each day count and she’d be kind to everyone,” Gio Falciano added.
All were reminded of Porreca’s contagious laugh and smile in a video Gio put together.
It shows Porreca just one week before her death, modeling for an ad campaign for Gio’s company, Gio Cosmetics.
It’s these memories of Porreca enjoying life, that family and friends will forever cherish, and through them, will find some way to heal.
“Be able to think of my sister not with tears in your eyes, but with a smile on your lips,” Rosecrans said.
They know she’ll never be far away.
“She will always be like I said, looking over all of us here,” Myers said. “She will always be in our hearts and always be in our memories.”
Porreca’s family will head back to court for Chmielewski’s sentencing on Nov. 9.
Watch the full video of Porreca below.