Dean J. Porter was defiant even in his apologies Tuesday morning as he was sentenced to more than 32 years in prison for the murder of his stepfather, Bill Shocinski. The victim, 69, was beaten to death in his St. Paul home with a claw hammer in mid-December.
"It's untrue I'm not remorseful. I'm very remorseful," said Porter, 49, after listening to emotional statements from the victim's two grown children, ex-wife and a family friend.
Porter pleaded guilty Jan. 31 to intentional second-degree murder in Ramsey County District Court. At that hearing, he said he'd killed Shocinski on Dec. 19, after they had quarreled.
But Shocinski's children, Kristine and Billy, said Tuesday that their father had been dead at least five days and possibly a week before his body was found Dec. 21 in a locked, unheated mudroom of the house in the 700 block of Como Avenue.
The empties from six cases of beer were found in the basement, they said. That wouldn't have happened if their father had been alive, because he didn't allow Porter to drink in his home, they said.
Both had talked to their father Dec. 14, when he called each to tell them "something terrible had happened." Shocinski had learned that day that someone had taken his deceased wife's credit card and spent to its limit of $5,000. Shocinski's second wife, Ellie -- Porter's mother -- died of cancer in January 2010.
Billy Shocinski said he asked his father whether Porter could have stolen the card.
"Oh, no, Dean wouldn't do that," Shocinski told his son.
Investigators found that it was Porter who had taken the card. He'd used it to take a friend to Sturgis, S.D. He also used money he found after Shocinski's death to rent snowmobiles and take friends on an outing.
Kristine Shocinski tried repeatedly in the days following Dec. 14 to reach her father by phone. Porter told her that her father had gone to the casino and stayed overnight. He'd give her father a message to call her, Porter told her. The next day, Porter told her that her father had stayed another night.
On Dec. 21, Shocinski's daughter met St. Paul police officers at her father's house. An initial search turned up nothing, but the officers returned later that day after Shocinski's car was towed to the city's impound lot. This time, they found his body. Porter was arrested the next day.
"My father was frail and weak," Billy Shocinski said. "He couldn't even stand up straight because of a back injury. Dean is two, three times bigger than my dad. ... I kept hoping this was a bad dream."
District Judge Joanne Smith sentenced Porter to just more than 32 1/2 years and gave him credit for 84 days served. She ordered him to pay restitution to Shocinski's children.
Said Billy Shocinski, "Dad, now that justice is being served, may you rest in peace and know how much you are missed and loved."
Pat Pheifer • 612-741-4992