British Columbia

Family of murdered Burnaby woman prepares for killer's sentencing hearing

Nicole Porciello died after her ex-partner stabbed her and then crashed their vehicle on the Barnet Highway in November 2018. 

Nicole Porciello, 34, was stabbed by her ex-boyfriend before he crashed their car

Nicole Porciello was a teaching assistant at Templeton Secondary School in Vancouver. (Facebook)

Nicole Porciello's family is remembering her as a loving mother, sister and friend as they prepare themselves for the sentencing hearing for the man who killed her. 

The 34-year-old Burnaby woman died after her ex-partner stabbed her and then crashed the vehicle they were riding in into a light pole on the Barnet Highway in November 2018. 

"I live with how she died every day and it affects me. And I'm not the same person," Carmine Porciello, Nicole's older brother told CBC. "My parents aren't the same. They're alive but they're not living."

Jan Poepl, 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in her death. 

Nicole's son, who was 10 at the time of her death, was left without a mother and the family has been shattered in the years since, said Carmine Porciello. 

Ashley Engleson holds a picture of her friend Nicole Porciello, who was killed November 2018 by an ex-partner. (Tina Lovgreen)

"We were a very close family, you know. I don't go to my parents' house like I used to because I just see the sadness and it's a constant reminder."

Porciello's brother says the two had an on-and-off relationship but Nicole had broken things off in the months before her death. 

"It just kills me that this all happened over selfishness that someone couldn't have something. Because it's nothing more than that," said Carmine Porciello.

A B.C. judge will hear victim impact statements Wednesday as Poepl's sentencing hearing begins.

A conviction for second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence, but the court will make a decision on Poepl's parole eligibility, which could be anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Family and friends are hoping for the maximum.

"Justice to me is that the law is exercised to its highest degree. Nothing can bring her back, but at least that would be something," said Ashley Engleson, a friend of Nicole's since Grade 8. 

"She was just a shining light in our family," said Carmine Porciello. "That light went out too soon."

Engleson says Nicole, who worked as an educational assistant at Vancouver's Templeton Secondary School, had a natural gift when it came to connecting with kids. 

"They responded so well to her," said Engleson. "She made a huge difference in many children's lives."

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for two days, wrapping up March 11. 

The B.C. Prosecution Service tells CBC it's not clear when the court will rule on parole eligibility. 

With files from Tina Lovgreen