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A former colleague of an Oakland attorney who was shot to death Friday night remembered him today as “a wonderful man” who loved to sing, do woodwork and take photographs. The death of Michael Porcella, 36, is “a great loss to the community and his family,” said Anne Beles, who worked with Porcella in the law firm headed by her father, veteran Oakland criminal defense attorney Robert Beles.
Porcella “had a joyous heart,” said Anne Beles, who currently represents Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and has represented other high-profile clients. Oakland police arrested Porcella’s girlfriend, 28-year-old Rennie Pratt of Oakland, in connection with his death at his home at 3740 Laguna Ave. in Oakland’s Dimond District about 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers said today that he plans to file murder charges against Pratt as well as an enhancement clause of using a gun. First-degree murder carries a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison and a conviction for using a gun could add another 25 years, for a total sentence of 50 years to life. Pratt is scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Rogers said.
Beles said Porcella, who was admitted to the State Bar on March 23, 2006, worked in her father’s law firm for several years but was laid off last summer for economic reasons. However, Porcella continued to work part-time for the firm and make appearances in court cases, Beles said. She said Porcella graduated from Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland and St. Mary’s College in Moraga, and earned his law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco.
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