Slaying victim Jaime Taccetta laid to rest

Mourners watch as the coffin of Jaime Taccetta, Mourners watch as the coffin of Jaime Taccetta, who was slain in a Medford pharmacy on Father's Day, is carried out of St. Joseph's Church in Ronkonkoma. (June 25, 2011) Photo Credit: Ed Betz

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Daniel Taccetta held back tears as he clutched a metal cross in one hand, his sister's coffin in another.

His father, future brother-in-law and a cousin helped share the burden yesterday morning as they moved Jaime Taccetta's coffin into St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Ronkonkoma for her funeral.

"None of us wants to be here," the Rev. Michael T. Maffeo said at the funeral Mass. "This is horrible. It's not what we had planned.

"We know she had wonderful plans," Maffeo said, "and those plans are killing us now as we think about them."

Taccetta, 33, and three others were slain during a drugstore robbery last Sunday as she went about the routine business of picking up a prescription. David Laffer, a Medford man charged in the shooting deaths, and his wife, Melinda Brady, who allegedly drove the getaway car and faces a top charge of third-degree robbery, are in jail.

Taccetta, who would have been married in October, was buried in her wedding dress. She left behind two daughters, a fiance and numerous family members.

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"Nobody really knows how they're feeling right now," said Taccetta's cousin, John Brown Jr., a Marine corporal.

Brown said Taccetta, a physical therapist from Farmingville, was a great mother with a lively personality -- always laughing, very bubbly.

"It breaks my heart," he said. "It breaks my family's heart. It breaks everybody's heart to know she's not coming back."

It was a traditional funeral Mass. Jaime Taccetta's daughters Miranda, 16, and Kaitlyn, 6, helped carry the Communion gifts. Daniel Taccetta did a reading.

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"My sister was an angel," he said after the service, which more than 150 people attended. "The hardest part is going to bury her."

The Father's Day shooting at Haven Drugs in Medford also claimed the lives of Jennifer Mejia, 17, of Medford; Raymond Ferguson, 45, of Centereach; and Bryon Sheffield, 71, of Medford.

Taccetta's fiance, James Manzella, came upon her body -- and the other victims -- when he went to check on why she had been in the pharmacy for so long.

"There is no sense," Maffeo, the pastor, said. "There are no answers to the why . . . other than one person's madness. Unfortunately, our dear sister was a victim of that madness."

The funeral Mass was followed by burial at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.

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