Homicide victim remembered as 'beautiful soul,' pillar of Edmonton's Italian community

An 83-year-old homicide victim is being remembered as a loving woman who meant a great deal to Edmonton's Italian community.

Giuseppina Micieli was assaulted in a seniors' home in July, police say

Police say Giuseppina Micieli, 83, is a victim of homicide. Cynthia Hamelin, 49, has been charged with first-degree murder in her death. (Serenity Funeral Service)

Giuseppina Micieli is being remembered as a loving woman who meant a great deal to Edmonton's Italian community.

"My mom was a kind, loving, hard-working, humble woman that raised two daughters and loved her kids and her grandkids and great-grandkids," said Micieli's daughter, Maria Filice.

Micieli, 83, was assaulted in her home at the Piazza Italia Seniors' Residence in the inner city in July. About five weeks later, she died from pneumonia caused by blunt force injuries sustained during the assault, Edmonton police said.

A 49-year-old woman unknown to Micieli broke into her suite and assaulted her, police said. The accused, Cynthia Hamelin, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Filice said the past few months without her mother have been stressful and emotional.

"I just thought that we could … spend some more time together," she told CBC News.

"She taught me a lot in life and I just miss doing things with her and being with her."

Italian Centre Shop President Teresa Spinelli says Giuseppina Micieli was an important part of Edmonton's Italian community. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

The pair enjoyed visiting in Micieli's apartment and meandering around the shops of Little Italy. She visited the Italian Centre Shop almost every day, sipping coffee and chatting in Italian with the shop's president, Teresa Spinelli.

"I miss seeing her. I miss her smile. I miss her touching my hand and saying, 'How are you today?" Spinelli said.

"She was just a good, good person. A good soul."

Spinelli said she visited Micieli in hospital a couple of weeks after the assault, and she seemed to be in good spirits.

Spinelli was shocked by what happened to her friend.

"When something like that happens, it really just shakes you to the core," she said.

Giuseppina Micieli, 83, visited the Italian Centre Shop near her home almost every day. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

Filice described her mother as a feisty woman who was determined to get out of the hospital.

"She says 'I want out of here.' She wanted to go home," Filice said.

'A beautiful soul'

Both Spinelli and Filice said the 83-year-old was an important part of the Italian community in Edmonton.

"They were like her extended family," Filice said.

Micieli grew up in Cosenza in southern Italy. Once in Canada, she attended mass regularly at Santa Maria Goretti Catholic Church, and became good friends with many people in the community, Filice said.

She often crocheted hats and boots when a friend or family member had a child.

"She was very friendly with everybody, but she was very private at the same time," she said. "But when she was out on the street and she went to the Italian store and the Italian church, then she knew everybody."

Filice said her mother taught her how to be a good person.

"She just taught me how to work hard and be a kind and respectful person to everyone, treat everybody equally," she said.

Micieli's friends feel the same way.

"She was very, very kind," Spinelli said. "She was a beautiful soul."

With files from Natasha Riebe