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Florida: Freed Murder Convict Charged With Killing Single Mother

Eric Pierson

A convicted murderer who was released from jail last year has been charged with killing a South Florida resident whose body was found in a canal, three weeks after she went missing, authorities said.

Sunrise Police charged Eric Pierson, 54, on Oct. 16 with first-degree murder for killing Erika Verdecia, 33, who leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter, hours after her body was fished out of the canal near Fort Lauderdale, ABC News reported.

According to a statement issued by police, Pierson confessed that he stabbed her multiple times with a screwdriver on Sept. 25.

He had served 27 years of a 40-year jail term, before walking out of prison last year, for beating and strangulating to death Kristina Whitaker (17) in 1993. Her death spurred the push for longer sentences.

After her killing, the state of Florida banished parole and made it compulsory for convicts to serve at least 85% of their jail term. But the change couldn’t be applied retroactively leading to Pierson, who was eligible, to be released.

A mugshot of Erika Verdecia.

Back in 1985, he broke into a home and slit a woman’s throat, serving just four years of an 18-year sentence for first-degree attempted murder before getting out on parole.

Speaking to South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Verdecia’s mother Carmen said she fails to understand why such a dangerous criminal was out on the streets and free to attack her daughter.

“Why is he on the streets? Why?” she said. “We will not stop this time. We will ensure that he goes straight to the electric chair.”

A video grab of Erika’s mother Carmen Verdecia speaking to the media.

The slain woman’s family reported her mission on Sept. 27, three days after she left home and didn’t come back.
Carmen then contacted Erika’s friends on social media and was told that she was seen with a man who said his name was Eric Pearson.

When Carmen searched the name on the internet, she was shocked and horrified to see stories of his past crimes.

She went to the police and informed that her daughter was last seen with a murderer but it was too late.

Girlfriend Nails Killer

According to court documents, police said they had stopped Pierson’s truck on Sept. 25 with Erika by his side but she didn’t appear in distress. It was the day when detectives say he killed the woman.

On Oct. 4 when police contacted him again, he told them Erika had walked away when he stopped for gas shortly after the traffic stop on Sept. 25.

He claimed he never saw her again after that though surveillance video showed that the gas stop happened before the traffic stop and she was with him in the vehicle at the gas station.

On Friday, police again questioned him and when he let them search the truck, they found blood stains inside.

Later, on Friday, his girlfriend called police and told them that Pierson stared at the canal behind their house saying, “Damn that bitch stinks.” She also told police that he said, “If they don’t find a body, they don’t have a case.”

Erika’s body was fished out of the canal a few hours later.

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