April 12, 2009

Woman who works as barber in Rossmoor arrested for killing her Oakland attorney boyfriend

Rennie Pratt, 28, was arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting her boyfriend at his home in Oakland's Dimond District, Oakland police told the Oakland Tribune.

The Tribune says:

Michael E. Porcella, 36, was found shot about 11:29 p.m. Friday on the porch of his home in the 3700 of Laguna Avenue. Porcella, who worked as an attorney for the criminal defense firm of Robert J. Beles in Oakland, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pratt was arrested at the home. She was Porcella's girlfriend of about six months and also lived at the home, was arrested at the house, police said. And, she's a barber at Rossmoor.

Police said an argument between the couple preceded the shooting, and that police had been called to the home in the past because of altercations between the couple.


Anonymous said...

Given the fact that police have reported two prior calls to that address over arguments between the couple and the fact that she moved out the day before the murder, I'll be interested to read more about Pratt as this case unfolds. Normally, given the information above, I'd suspect the man in the case of shooting the woman who's moved out (we so often see that tragic turn of events). So far, however, all the comments I've seen in stories and forums speak highly of Porcello, while there are no comments from acquaintances about Pratt. So, that makes me wonder all the more.

I'm slightly obsessed with this case, since I made an offer on that very same home where the shooting occured back in late 2006, only to lose out to a bid coniderably over asking price (even though the market was then losing steam and prices dropping) from "an attorney from Lafayette." I can't help but wonder if that was Porcello. The timeline and description fits. Back in 2006, I envied the eventual buyer his ability to get that place. But if it were Porcello, well, he was laid off a year or two later, and now murdered. So tragic. Just shows the pointlessnes of envying anyone; we never know what they're going through or how they'll end up.

Soccer Mom said...

Dear Anonymous 2:34 p.m.
Thanks very much for weighing in on this case and offering your perspective. I had little information to go on when I posted this story. I'm sorry. I didn't know that the suspect had moved out the day before.

"An attorney from Lafayette": I knew the name, Porcella, sounded familiar. I didn't have a chance this afternoon to look into more carefully. I wanted to see if his named turned up in connection with any local criminal cases.

I can definitely understand your interest and even slight obsession with this case. As if, I've never become obsessed with criminal cases.

You're right. It is definitely one to watch as it unfolds, especially the potential domestic violence angle.

Your thoughtful comments added a useful perspective on this case. Again, thanks for posting.

Meanwhile, just checking the State Bar of California website, I see that a Michael Porcella graduated from St. Mary's, and then received his law degree from Golden Gate University, and was admitted to the State Bar, but not until 2006, it appears. So he hadn't been practicing too long.

And, yes, Porcella, had been laid off from his firm last summer, due to economic reasons.

21stCenturyMom said...

"Just shows the pointlessnes of envying anyone; we never know what they're going through or how they'll end up."

Those are very wise words.

I used to live on Laguna - a couple of blocks from 3700. I moved out here a long time ago, though.

Anonymous said...

An apparent neighbor of the slain man has posted a comment about this killing on sfgate that is very interesting. From this post, I get the impression that the couple had split up and that's why she had moved out the day before. Or maybe he had broken it off with her unilaterally, and this was her revenge. In any case, I had wondered about the fact that the shot man was found by police on the PORCH. This post explains that part: >>> jonopp4/12/2009 8:28:24 PM

"Living next door, we were among the first neighbors to respond Friday night. We knew Mike as a quiet, modest, agreeable guy. He largely kept to himself, but from what we heard of his regular arguments with Rennie, he was making considerable sacrifices on her and her kids' behalf. From appearances, she is an emotionally disturbed woman whom he was trying to help. She shot him on his front porch as he was coming home Friday night."

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know which barbership in Rossmoor she worked at? There's a favorite barbership among the Rossmoor crowd, a little down the street on Tice Valley, in a strip mall. Not the one with the Safeway, but closer to Olympic. My husband's gone there and really likes it and likes the woman who owns it.

Anonymous said...

Re: the barber shop question: all the press reports have only said "as a barber at Rossmoor." I thought maybe that meant there was some on-site service (paid or otherwise) to Rossmoor residents, but I'm not just not familiar enough with that community and the neighborhood to say. Here's a link to one of those reports, if you want to see it:

Joe M said...

I went to high school with Mike. He was a senior when I was a, newly arrived, sophomore. He was a really cool guy. We were in a musical together. He was always very nice and approachable like a big brother. After high school I ran into him several times, over the years, and he was always very friendly.

"Time flies and draws us with it. The moment in which I'm speaking is already far from me." -Boileau (and Mike's Senior year book quote)

Soccer Mom said...

Hi Joe,
Sorry to hear that someone you knew died in such a sudden, tragic way.

I was wondering, what school did Mike go to? Did he grow up in the East Bay? I'm a product of schools here in the East Bay, though he would be younger. Still, his last name sounded so familiar to me. And I'm sorry if there are people around here who are grieving his loss.

Anonymous said...

Here is more information on this case, from an Oakland Tribune update posted today (April 14): ... (more details re: the possible events leading up to the shooting; Pratt's employment; etc.)

Anonymous said...

I live in Garden City Kansas where Rennie Pratt was raised and we had mutual friends. I always thought that Rennie had serious issues dealing with men and people in general. She developed alot of enemies through he little antics. Huge drama queen and very disliked by alot of people. No one sad in Kansas when she left for California. MY sympathies to the family of the victim.

Anonymous said...

Rennie Pratt is a very disturbed girl with control issues. If she does not get her way, someone is gonna pay! She was involved with gangs in Kansas and has a sister who went missing under strange circumstances about 15yrs ago. Google Rachel Pratt for that info. I always thought that Rennie had serious problems, but to kill someone...well you never know!

Anonymous said...

Barely knew Porcella in high school. That said, he was a class act. I'm very very sorry to hear this.

Anonymous said...

I went to school with Rennie and I never did like her. I remember her having problems, one time in middle school, she chased me and some friends home because she was mad that a guy she had liked had asked me out and we were dating. After that I always heard her name for getting into trouble. Very troubled girl.

Anonymous said...

3/25/11 Oakland woman has been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of her boyfriend, an attorney in a prominent East Bay criminal defense firm, a prosecutor said today.

Rennie Pratt, 29, had been charged with murder in the 2009 slaying of 36-year-old Michael Porcella.

An Alameda County jury convicted her Thursday of voluntary manslaughter and an enhancement for using a gun.

She faces a sentence of anywhere from three to 21 years in prison when Judge Morris Jacobson sentences her June 24, 2011.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

I'm the friend that helped Rennie move out and know from seeing and hearing about it Alot mike was very abusive and on drugs half the time. That gun was his, Rennie was trying To empty the bullets outta it when it went off. This wouldn't of happen if he didnt point @ her first.

Anonymous said...

It makes me sick to my stomach that Rennie could only get three years in prison. Mike took care of her kids like they were his own. She should never be allowed around them again and hopefully she will never get to see them. It's disgusting that she is even saying she was trying to unload the gun. Mike would never point a gun at her, nor give her any reason to think he would. I talked to him the weekend before and he was happy to finally be free of her. She was jealous and didn't want him to go. I hope that she gets the maximum sentence

Canadian Viagra said...

This is perfect because I heard this woman tried to kill his boyfriend with a knife or something like that while she was making him a new hairstyle, that's terrible it was like novel.

AJ said...

She is going to get more then 3 years. There was a gun enhancement charge so the minimum would be 7 years. The max would be 21 years.

Viagra said...

Was was her motive?

Anonymous said...

she got 21 years she will be 50 when she gets out. plenty of time to live a life and possibly trouble for some other sap who falls for her