ALBANY, N.Y. -- Michael Chmielewski, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of murder in the first degree Tuesday. Chmielewski admitted he stabbed Jacquelyn Porreca to death inside the Colonie salon where she worked in August 2015.
"[He] certainly didn't want to go in there wanting to do it, but things went bad," said Cheryl Coleman, Chmielewski's defense attorney. "So, he's here and she's gone, and he's taken responsibility for it, and that's all he can do at this point."
In State Supreme Court Tuesday, Chmielewski admitted he was under the influence of heroin at the time of the murder. Coleman, a veteran attorney, said she knows the effects all too well.
"This crime speaks to the horrible grip that heroin can have on a person," she said.
Chmielewski is one of two defendants in this case. Sean Moreland, the alleged driver the night of the robbery, is charged in connection with Porreca's death.
Last week, the judge threw out statements that Moreland made to Colonie Police about the crime. The judge ruled police obtained those statements and other evidence illegally.
Moreland was sentenced to eight years in prison last week on an unrelated burglary charge and is scheduled to be in court this Thursday in relation to this case.
Testifying against Moreland was not part of Chmielewski's plea deal, which included a sentence of 22 years to life in prison.
Moreland's attorney, Paul DerOhannesian, said his client continues to maintain his innocence, and they'll address any outstanding issues during Thursday's court appearance.
Chmielewski will be formally sentenced November 9.