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Man who confessed to stabbing woman in neck strangled teen in 90s, slit woman’s throat in 80s

Now 2 mothers ask why felon was free to kill their daughters in 1993 and 2021

A murder suspect is being held without bond after he was accused of killing a woman while he was on parole for killing a teenage girl.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Deputies are holding a 54-year-old man without bond after prosecutors accused him of killing a 33-year-old mother and abandoning her body in a canal in Davie — while he was on a conditional release for killing a teenage girl.

Records show Eric Pierson, who is 6-foot-8-inches tall, has been in and out of prison since he was 16. Carmen Verdecia said Monday she wants to know why the Florida Department of Corrections freed Pierson, the convicted felon who confessed to killing her daughter.

Police divers found Erika Verdecia dead on Saturday in a canal in Davie. Pierson confessed to stabbing her twice in the neck and once in each eye with a screwdriver, according to the Sunrise Police Department. Officers arrested him on Sunday and he appeared in front of Broward Judge Tabitha Blackmon on Monday.

Carmen Verdecia said Monday she wants to know why the Florida Department of Corrections freed the convicted felon who killed her daughter.

Records show the Florida Department of Corrections released Pierson on Sept. 3, 2020. He had served about 25 years out of his 40-year sentence for the murder of 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker, of Hollywood. According to the Florida Commission on Offender Review, Pierson was “actively serving on conditional release supervision” and that supervision was scheduled to terminate on Jan. 14, 2034.

Officers accused Pierson of beating and strangling Whitaker in 1993 after detectives found her body on Jan. 22, 1994, at a construction site in Davie, police said. Prosecutors had charged him with first-degree murder, but Pierson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced on Dec. 1, 1995.

When Pierson was convicted of killing Whitaker, he had served four years out of his 18-year sentence for using a kitchen knife to slide a woman’s throat after breaking into her home in Davie. Officers reported the woman survived the attack.

Like Carmen Verdecia, Whitaker’s mother, Roxann Grimstead, was also outraged when she learned authorities had allowed Pierson to be released early.

On Monday, Pierson was at the Broward County main jail for violating the terms of his conditional release in Whitaker’s case. He is facing a first-degree murder charge in Verdecia’s case. Judge Blackmon denied his bond.


About the Authors:

Alex Finnie joined the Local 10 News team in May 2018. South Florida is home! She was raised in Miami and attended the Cushman School and New World School of the Arts for high school.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.