Sentencing hearing reveals killer blamed dying ex-girlfriend in video he recorded moments after he stabbed her
Warning: This story contains disturbing details shared in court
VANCOUVER -- Nicole Porciello had suffered some 47 wounds at the hands of her ex-boyfriend.
Yet, in the moments after, as she bled and struggled to breathe, she told him she loved him.
But instead of expressing grief, sorrow, or calling for help, a jealous and vengeful Jan Poepl told Porciello, also known as Nicole Hasselmann, that it was her fault.
“You just took, took, took from me. Disrespected me for months and years,” Poepl said on a video he recorded after he attacked Porciello with two knives.
A portion of that video was played in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, with Crown reading out further excerpts as part of their submissions, as they ask a judge to sentence Poepl, who’s already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, to 15 years in prison before his first chance of parole.
It was a chilling coda to a distressing crime that Porciello’s family says has caused trauma, grief, and heartache each and every day for over two years.
“Yesterday I was heartbroken and sad,” said Porciello’s cousin Gina Iuliano. “And this morning I’m sick to my stomach and really angry.”
Outside court, Iuliano referred to Poepl a “predator” who preyed on her beautiful cousin.
And with respect to Porciello’s words in the horrific video, which many family members chose not to watch, she said this: “Let us not forget the person that Nicole was: strong, confident, independent and smart. In that moment, she was trying to save herself."
According to the agreed statement of facts, Poepl made no attempt to save Porciello for over two hours.
Instead, he left her bleeding and dying in his car while he did his banking and shopped online.
Hours later, with Porciello still alive, he deliberately drove the car into a light pole along Burnaby’s Barnet Highway.
Porciello, a special education assistant at Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver, was 34 when she was killed.
Her son, at the time, was 10.
Killer expresses remorse, family calls his words hollow
In a statement to the court and Porciello’s family, Poepl, a former real estate agent expressed both regret and remorse.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time to tell you how sorry I am,” he said.
Poepl’s lawyer, Kevin Westell, later provided a series of letters from a chaplain and a life skills facilitator at the facility where Poepl is being held, which he said illustrate his client's efforts at rehabilitation.
“He has demonstrated through his actions since that time: insight, regret and remorse,” Westell told Justice Kathleen Ker.
Westell asked Ker to impose the minimum of 10 years before Poepl would be first eligible for parole and noted that his client would have to maintain exemplary behaviour to have even a hope of having it granted on his first try.
Outside court, Porciello’s family and friends reacted with disgust to Poepl’s statement.
“He said the words, but there is no physical, emotional, tone, nothing there,” said Porciello’s cousin, Michelle Smith.
And Porciello’s best friend Ashley Engelson: “I don’t believe you grow a heart or a conscience in…a couple years.”
Ker reserved her decision on sentencing until April 13.
Until then, Porciello’s family and friends will be waiting for the justice they say, even with a possible sentence of over 15 years behind bars, may never be served.
“He took goodness from this world. He took away love from this world, “ Iuliano said.
She added: “If we want to remember Nicole, we want to remember her with the love and brightness that she brought into every room that she walked into.”