In 1993, Eric Pierson was convicted of beating and strangling 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker to death. After serving 27 years, he was released from prison. However, Pierson struck again, this time murdering 33-year-old Erika Verdecia just one year after his release.
Verdecia's disappearance led police to Pierson, who had been seen with her at a sandwich shop. When Verdecia's mother discovered Pierson's criminal history online, she alerted the police, but it was too late. Verdecia's body was found in a canal near Fort Lauderdale.
Pierson's girlfriend provided incriminating information, stating that he would make disturbing comments about Verdecia and the possibility of not finding her body. Pierson was charged with first-degree murder after allegedly confessing to stabbing Verdecia with a screwdriver during a fight, claiming self-defense.
The gruesome details emerged when Verdecia's body was examined. She had been stabbed twice in the neck and once in each eye. Pierson, standing at 6 feet 8 inches tall, was arrested and booked into Broward County jail.
Pierson's early release was made possible by a loophole in the law. Although officials had pushed for longer prison sentences requiring convicts to serve at least 85% of their term, this change couldn't be applied retroactively to Pierson. He had previously been convicted of attempted murder in 1985 for slitting a woman's throat during a home invasion.
Verdecia's family expressed their outrage and demanded justice, questioning why Pierson was released early despite his violent history. They vowed to fight until he faced severe consequences, with Erika's mother even calling for the electric chair.
This tragic case highlights the need to reevaluate the justice system's decision-making process. Pierson's release, despite his prior violent crimes, resulted in another innocent life being taken. The incident has sparked a debate about whether certain individuals should be given multiple chances when they have demonstrated a clear danger to society.