A year after a convicted Florida killer, who murdered a teen girl, was released from prison, the ex-con struck again. This time, he used a screwdriver to commit a heinous crime against an innocent woman, but it gets worse.
Eric Pierson, a 54-year-old Florida man who was convicted of killing a teenage girl in 1993, was set free after serving 27 years of a 40-year sentence for beating and strangling 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker to death and pleading guilty to second-degree murder in relation to her death. Just one year after his release, the ex-con struck again while on parole, murdering a 33-year-old single mother named Erika Verdecia.
After Verdecia went missing and friends said they last saw her at a sandwich shop with a “grimy” man who identified himself as Eric Pierson, police tied Pierson to the woman’s disappearance. After hearing the news, Erika’s mother, Carmen Verdecia, searched Pierson’s name on the internet and was horrified to see newspaper stories about his earlier murder and another attack.
“I flipped out,” Carmen reportedly said. “I told (police) my daughter was seen with a killer. And, then, they started looking for her. But it was too late.”
Police found blood in Pierson’s truck and were informed by his girlfriend that he would stare at the canal behind their home and say, “Damn that bitch stinks.” She told police that Pierson also said, “If they don’t find a body, they don’t have a case.” Shortly after, however, Verdecia’s body was found in a canal near Fort Lauderdale, and Eric Pierson, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, was formally charged with the slaying.
Pierson allegedly confessed to stabbing the woman to death with a screwdriver, just one year after being released from prison for his prior murder. He alleged, however, that the stabbing took place during a fight and was in self-defense. Following his confession, Pierson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Erika Verdecia, who leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter.
According to Pierson’s confession, he stabbed the missing woman four times with a screwdriver. When her remains were discovered, she had been stabbed twice in the neck and once in each eye, the Daily Mail reported. Hours after her body was found, Pierson was booked into the Broward County jail.
Making matters worse, Pierson would not have been released if it weren’t for a loophole in the law after his murderer of 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker led officials to push for longer prison sentences that required that convicts serve at least 85 percent of their term. Sadly, however, the new law could not be applied retroactively to Pierson, who was also convicted of slitting a woman’s throat after breaking into a home in 1985, the NY Post reported.
The victim survived, and Eric Pierson served just four years of an 18-year-sentence for first-degree attempted murder after slitting her throat. As we previously stated, he struck again in 1993, killing 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker, only to be released again, affording him the opportunity to kill again, which he took full advantage of, taking 33-year-old Erika Verdecia’s life.
Of course, Verdecia’s family wants to know why Pierson was ever released 13 years early after serving less than 70% of his sentence for murder following a prior murder attempt.
“Why is this guy in the streets? Why?” Erika’s mother, Carmen Verdecia, pleaded, according to the Sun-Sentinel. She went on to demand that this time be different, saying, “He’s going to pay this time. We’re not going to stop until we see him in the electric chair.”
After Kristina Whitaker’s death helped galvanize a push for longer prison sentences, one can only wonder what in the world our justice system was thinking when it was decided that Eric Pierson should be released 13 years before his sentence was up. This is especially true since Whitaker’s murder wasn’t Pierson’s first gruesome attack on a female.
It’s time we realize that some people do not deserve second chances, let alone third chances. A man who attempted murder, got released, and then murdered again, certainly should not have been freed. The third chance to rejoin civilized society resulted in another woman’s death, and the person or persons responsible for Pierson’s early release have blood on their hands.