Final two funerals for LI drug store victims

A funeral was held on June 25 for pharmacist Raymond Ferguson. The 45-year-old was one of four victims of the Medford drug store massacre.

June 25, 2011 2:03:44 PM PDT
The last two funerals were held Saturday morning for the victims of the Long Island drug store massacre.

In Ronkonkoma, friends and family of Jamie Taccetta, 33, gathered for her final farewell just a few months before they would have celebrated her wedding.

The mother of two was buried in her wedding dress.

The funeral for pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45, was held in Forest Hills, Queens on Saturday.

Among the mourners; his wife with whom he would have soon celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary.

The other victims of the execution-style shootings, Jennifer Mejia, 17, and Bryon Sheffield, 71, were laid to rest on Friday.

On Friday, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Jennifer Mejia, the 17-year-old store clerk who would have graduated from Bellport High School on Thursday. Her classmates wore their caps and gowns to the funeral.

They also painted messaged on their caps, pinned ribbons to their robes and wore bracelets they'd made in colors that meant something to Jennifer, blue for her prom dress and purple because it was her favorite color.

"Since Jen wasn't here yesterday to share the time with us and have the experience of graduation, her dad wanted us all today to be dressed up so she could have a little image of what graduation was like," friend and classmate Christopher Soriano said.

The service was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Patchogue.

Mejia should've danced at her prom this week. Instead, her peers were honoring her memory.

"I think Jen would think it was very nice," friend Taylor Reilly said. "She was a very humble person. She would be so happy. She'd be like, 'You guys are so nice for doing this for me. I have the best friends ever, and the best family.' She really has so many people who love her."

"I think that she would be so excited and so happy that we did it," Soriano said. "She's been working 12 hard years for this, and now that she's not here, she couldn't celebrate with us."

At 10 a.m., the hearse pulled up to the church, followed by Jennifer's family. Her sister Leslie, also a clerk at the pharmacy, walked inside quickly. Then, with a gathering of mourners nearby, pall bearers lifted the white casket carrying Jennifer's remains and carried it inside.

"She was just an angel," Soriano said. "She was seriously a walking angel. And she was so sincere to everyone. She wanted the best for everyone. So sad."

The Bellport graduation ceremony Thursday started with white balloons released in Mejia's memory.

"It just visualized to me her going up to into heaven," superintendent Joe Cipp said. "And her being in heaven and watching down on us."

The quadruple killing and the death of a classmate left hundreds of students with mixed emotions on their graduation day. There was sorrow at death mixed with their own hopes for the future.

Also laid to rest Friday was 71-year-old Byron Sheffield, who was a customer in Haven Drugs when the shooting happened. Sheffield was picking up a prescription for his ailing wife when he was ambushed.

There will be two more funerals Saturday, for 45-year-old pharmacist Ray Ferguson and 33-year-old Jaime Taccetta, a bride-to-be who will be buried in her wedding gown.

The accused killer in the Medford pharmacy massacre is being held without bail, while his wife was arraigned Friday.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer says 33-year-old David Laffer is not cooperating and shows no remorse.

Laffer was arraigned Thursday on four counts of first-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.

His wife, 29-year-old Melinda Brady, was released from the hospital Friday morning and was arraigned on charges of robbery and obstructing governmental administration after police say she drove Laffer to the pharmacy.

Prosectors say she also actively assisted her husband in resisting arrest by grabbing officers' legs. The reason for her hospitalization has not been released.

Brady pleaded not guilty, and the judge ordered her held in lieu of $750,000 cash or $1.5 million secured bond.

Prosecutors plan to present the case to a grand jury next week, and they say it's likely they will add additional charges to the case against Brady.

Brady was reportedly cooperating with investigators and provided a glimpse of that Wednesday night when she was led from police headquarters to a nearby precinct holding cell.

"He was doing it because he lost his job and I was sick," Brady told reporters. "He did it. He did all of this."

Police say Laffer left two fingerprints on a piece of paper found next to Ferguson. Those prints made Laffer the prime suspect within 24 hours of the massacre.

"This type of violent behavior is beyond understanding," Dormer said. "It doesn't make sense. I don't have the answer. Nobody has the answer."

A vigil for the shooting victims was held Friday night at the Brookhaven Amphitheater on Bald Hill.