(Correction in Porciello statement: 'Cardinal rule of gun ownership'
'I made the biggest mistake of my life,' Alan Porciello tells judge
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Bend man who fatally shot a Sisters woman at his apartment during their first date a year ago was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison, saying he takes “100 percent blame” for the apparent accident and that he “broke the cardinal rule of responsible gun ownership” – always treat a gun as if it’s loaded.
Alan Peter Porciello, 37, also was sentenced to a year post-prison supervision by Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby, less than a month after he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree manslaughter in the Jan. 12, 2019 killing of Jenny Cashwell, a mother of two at the Cedar West Apartments.
Porciello was ordered to have no contact with certain members of Cashwell’s immediate family, and all of his guns will be seized as well.
Porciello originally was charged with first-degree manslaughter, defined as causing someone’s death “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
He pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, a Class B felony defined in state statute as “recklessly causing the death of a person." The potential sentence for that crime ranged from just over six to 10 years in prison, compared to 10-20 years for the more serious charge.
The two had met on the online dating site Plenty of Fish and exchanged messages before agreeing to meet that Saturday to go hiking. Cashwell picked up Porciello in her car and drove to the Pine Nursery Trail, returning several hours later. Cashwell had texted a friend during the outing, saying she didn’t expect to have a second date with Porciello.
In a court filing, Porciello was quoted as telling 911 dispatchers he had shot Cashwell in the chest and that he was “being facetious, acting like I was going to shoot her, and accidentally did.”
Porciello has a traumatic brain injury, the result of two car crashes, which also cost him his right eye, over which he wears a patch.
During the standing-room-only sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Dan Reesor talked about how the pair had exchanged text messages for five days leading up to the date.
Grieving friends of Cashwell remembered her in the days after as a loving, caring mother of two girls, then 8 and 11, who had come through hard times, inspired many and was fond of CrossFit (and Dr. Pepper).
Ashby summarized the contents of several victim impact statements submitted by Cashwell’s family and friends, saying she was “the light of our lives” and speaking of the loss of a wonderful mother, daughter, sister and friend. They said about 500 people showed up at her memorial service.
The judge noted that some who wrote statements were pretty angry about the justice system, which he said was “very understandable,” given such an emotional, tragic situation.
“If I weren’t a judge here, I’d be writing similar letters,” Ashby said.
Porciello’s attorney, Peter Parnickis, read from a “prayer” Porciello wrote over the past year, which said in part, “Father God, I beg of you, please forgive my stupidity. I can’t believe I was so dumb. Jenny is your daughter, please keep her safe … save her, I beg of you.”
The defense attorney also noted that both Porciello and Cashwell owned guns and had concealed carry permits, and had talked in text messages before they met of going shooting together some time.
When his time came to speak, Porciello read a prepared statement, occasionally looking up at the judge: “Your honor, I take 100 percent blame, because I broke the cardinal rule of responsible gun ownership. I made the biggest mistake of my life. And while you may not see my emotions, due to my two traumatic brain injuries, but I promise you, it’s there – I feel it.”
“Those who think I am cold and heartless, nothing could be further from the truth. This is why as soon as it happened, I dialed 911 for help and to turn myself in. I know I deserve punishment, no matter how badly I wish I could undo it.”
“It breaks my heart that I have robbed you all of a very wonderful woman. The main reason I feel this way is, her daughters have to grow up without their great mom. And this is all on me. It’s my fault. I have to deal with it for the rest of my life. This will haunt me for the rest of my life. Every night when I go to sleep, I relive it all.
“This may not mean much to people here, but I am a Christian man. I am so very sorry, from the bottom of my heart. I am so, so sorry, and I hope that someday, you can find it in your heart to be able to forgive me for this horrible tragedy. I don’t ever want to own guns again. I have before, and will for the rest of my life, live on the straight and narrow.”
Before imposing sentence, Ashby said, “There really are no words to capture the loss that people feel and the community suffered from this senseless act. And there is never a good time to lose someone you love. That's just a fact, no matter how the loss occurs.
“Certainly, from this court's perspective, there is never a sentence that this court, or any court can impose that can properly honor Jenny Cashwell's life,” the judge added.