COLONIE Two men described as heroin addicts were arrested the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 10 for the August murder of 23-year-old Colonie hairdresser, Jacquelyn Porreca.
The men did not know the victim, according to Lt. Robert Winn, who spoke at a press conference Tuesday evening, flanked by more than a dozen officers and detectives who have been working to solve the case for more than two months.
The men arrested, Sean Moreland and Michael Chmielewski were both questioned early in the investigation, according to Winn. However, there was not enough evidence to charge either man with the crime until late last week. Early in the week, Moreland was arrested on unrelated charges and was released after being questioned about Porreca’s death. Winn said after his release, “he opened up his mouth and was talking more out in the community.” Then last Friday evening, an unnamed acquaintance came forward with new information identifying the men. At the time of the press conference at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Winn described the evidence against them as “overwhelming.”
Chmielewski, who has never been arrested as an adult, was the recipient of several academic awards when he graduated from Colonie Central High School in 2010, including the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence. He lived near the salon at 52 Sand Creek Road where Porreca was killed and police believe that proximity is the primary reason the men chose it as a target.
Moreland, who owns a small construction company, has prior arrests for burglary and drug possession.
According to police, Moreland waited in the car while Chmielewski entered the salon with a knife he owned. “We’re not exactly sure what occurred,” said Winn, “but he did ultimately end up stabbing Jacquelyn.”
The knife used in the robbery-turned-homicide has not yet been recovered, but divers were still searching the lake in Albany’s Washington Park on Wednesday afternoon. “I can’t say who made those statements,” said Winn, “but there are indications that the weapon is in the park.”
Winn said both men have been cooperating with police, and both show signs of remorse. “They robbed the salon to feed their heroin addiction,” said Winn, noting that the amount stolen is estimated to be between $500 and $800. “This is a horrific and tragic event for such a small amount of money.”