Colonie salon murderer sentenced to 22 years to life

Janeah Rosecrans paused — the judge handing her a tissue —as she read a statement about her sister,
Michael Chmielewski, left, and Sean Moreland, right, in court on Wednesday.
Michael Chmielewski, left, and Sean Moreland, right, in court on Wednesday.

Janeah Rosecrans paused — the judge handing her a tissue — as she read a statement about her sister, Jacquelyn Porreca, at the Monday morning sentencing for the man who killed her.

Michael Chmielewski, who pleaded guilty to murdering Porreca, was sentenced to 22 years to life in prison, the term agreed to in return for his guilty plea.

Rosecrans recalled Porreca as an amazing sister, loving aunt and generous friend. She also recalled how she died, working at the salon job she loved, stabbed to death by Chmielewski in a random, violent and senseless act.

“Sisters are supposed to grow old together, to help each other through life’s difficulties, celebrate joys and share laughter,” Rosecrans said. “That’s all been brutally taken away from me and my family.”

Wednesday morning, Porreca’s sisters — three in all — as well as her mother and fiance, all told the court of the woman they knew and how their lives have been permanently changed by the loss.

Chmielewski, 24, of Colonie, pleaded guilty in Albany County Court Sept. 6 to one count of first-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 21, 2015, stabbing death.

[Pair charged in Colonie salon murder]

He admitted to entering Recycled Salon at 52 Sand Creek Road intending to commit a robbery. In the course of that robbery, he stabbed Porreca. The 32-year-old Colonie resident died from her injuries two days later.

He also spoke at Wednesday’s sentencing, appearing emotional.

I’m so sorry,” he said. “It’s not enough.”

Had he been convicted at trial, Chmielewski would have faced up to life in prison without parole.

A second man, Sean Moreland, 33, of Colonie, also initially faced a murder charge in connection with Porreca’s death. He later pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution.

Moreland denied knowing what Chmielewski was doing. His plea related to his actions after the murder.

Moreland received his agreed-upon sentence of 2 to 6 years to run at the same time as an eight-year sentence in an unrelated burglary case.

The family members read their statements to both Chmielewski and Moreland, who were in court at the same time. They frequently addressed them at the same time, though only Chmielewski admitted involvement Porreca’s death.

Police have said heroin addiction fueled the crime, and that after stabbing Porreca, Chmielewski stole between $500 and $800.

Another Porreca sister, Gio Mariah, questioned the heroin motive in her own statement to the court.

“This murder was not because of drugs,” she said. “This murder was because of evil.”

Other family members, including Mariah, questioned the randomness of the crime, recounting fears they said Porreca verbalized of being watched prior to her death.

Porreca’s mother Elizabeth Zukoff joined in those thoughts, saying she sensed something was wrong with Porreca the week before she died and Porreca started parking next to the salon.

Zukoff said she prays that the truth will come out one day.

“I do not believe I will ever get over this, nor my family, her friends and her clients,” Zukoff said. “Our lives are forever changed and we will continue to suffer for a long time to come. I pray for closure for all of us, but at this present time, I see no rescue in sight.”

Porreca’s fiance Mickey Myers spoke of still checking his phone from time to time for a text message that’s not there. There’s no morning kiss before work. Instead, Myers said, he’s left to blowing a kiss to an empty bed.

He also told the wedding that never was and their lives together that never happened.

“You do deserve to get a sense of the hurt and pain you have caused us,” Myers said. “You deserve to hear about the beautiful person you took away from us. You deserve to see the tears in our eyes and hear the sorrow in our voice. You deserve to see how you have changed and destroyed our lives forever.”

Reach Gazette reporter Steven Cook at 395-3122, [email protected] or @ByStevenCook on Twitter.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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