Friday, November 24, 2017
Public safety

Largo man accused of killing wife has long history of violence

RECOMMENDED READING


LARGO — A man accused of killing his wife on their wedding anniversary Sunday night had a history of domestic violence spanning their tumultuous 21-year marriage, records show.

Richard Pierson, 69, and his wife, Mary Pierson, 47, were at their mobile home in the Bay Ranch adult community at 7349 Ulmerton Road when Pierson started swigging beers in the afternoon, Largo police said.

When he had drunk about six beers by 9:30 p.m., Pierson became agitated when Mary wouldn't stop talking and began hitting and choking her, police said.

Pierson later told detectives Mary had fought back. She escaped from his grasp before Pierson gained control again by pinning her to the ground and choking her for several minutes, an arrest affidavit said.

When she was dead, Pierson went to a neighbor's house and said he'd killed his wife.

The neighbor called 911, summoning police to the mobile home park near Belcher Road. Pierson was arrested on charges of first-degree murder.

Court records chronicle Pierson's history of aggression.

Pierson and his wife married on Sept. 29, 1992, in Pinellas County. A year later, Mary filed a domestic violence injunction against Pierson, which was later dismissed when she failed to appear at a hearing, court records show.

During their marriage, Pierson was arrested nearly a dozen times on battery charges. In 1993, he was convicted of misdemeanor battery for striking Mary, but his jail sentence was suspended for time served. In 1994, Pierson was convicted on another battery charge and received one year of probation, records show.

His last conviction was last year. On July 23, 2012, Largo police arrived at their mobile home after Pierson slapped Mary and pulled her hair. After his arrest, Pierson yelled he would "be back," an arrest affidavit shows.

Mary declined to prosecute her husband, but the state did anyway. Pierson pleaded guilty to battery and was sentenced to another year of probation, court records show. He was also charged Sunday with violating his probation.

Just six days before Mary was killed, another misdemeanor battery charge was filed against Pierson for beating her on May 21.

Pierson is a Missouri native. According to Swaneah Smith, one of his ex-wives, he has wed seven times.

Smith said she was his sixth wife. They were married for five years and had three children together.

The beatings didn't start until after they were married, Smith said. She was carrying their newborn daughter the first time he struck her.

While Pierson was visiting his mother in Missouri, Smith and her kids fled from Brandon and moved to Virginia to stay with her mother.

"He wanted to beat me all the time. He pulled a knife on me twice," said Smith, who now lives in Georgia. "I just got tired of getting beat."

They divorced about two years before Pierson and Mary married.

In Florida, Mary Pierson has also been arrested, including on charges of DUI, improper exhibition of a weapon, trespassing and petit theft. She was also arrested in 2008 for aggravated domestic battery, but no action was taken on that charge, records show.

The couple's families could not be reached for comment Monday.

Pierson was booked into the Pinellas County jail, where he remained Monday without bail.

"I knew this was going to happen eventually," Smith said. "He's always been a violent person."

Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.

Comments
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature’s Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.The cause of the depression is unclear, but the intersection was blocked off to traffic.Hillsborough C...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Published: 11/23/17

Lutz pedestrian dies in accident on U.S. 41

LUTZ — A man is dead after deputies said he walked into the path of a car on U.S. Route 41 Wednesday night.Charles Miller, 69 of Lutz, was walking east across the highway at 7:34 p.m., according to Florida Highway Patrol.Daniel Johnson, 35 and also o...
Published: 11/23/17

Hernando deputies make arrest after finding body of dead woman Wednesday

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 32-year-old man Wednesday who they say killed a woman.Joshua Carroll, 32, faces a charge of second-degree murder.Deputies found the body of the woman, who was not identified, at 15013 Old St...
Published: 11/22/17
Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

Tampa husband gets life, wife 40 years for sexual assault on 7-year-old

TAMPA — The mother of a 7-year-old girl stood weeping in a federal courtroom, demanding lifelong prison sentences for the Tampa couple who sexually assaulted her daughter while the girl’s own father took videos and pictures. "I don’t want my child to...
Published: 11/22/17
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Published: 11/22/17
Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

Fire sends smoke through roof of Brass Flamingo adult club in Port Richey

PORT RICHEY — Crews from Pasco County fire rescue were battling a fire Wednesday morning that sent smoke pouring through the roof at the Brass Flamingo adult club, 9034 U.S. 19.The fire forced the closing of U.S. 19 but traffic was flowing again by 6...
Published: 11/22/17
Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

TAMPA — Before the killings began, Bob and Vivian Fiallo envisioned having Thanksgiving at their North Carolina mountain getaway.Most years, the couple spends the holiday at their tidy, brick-faced home on North Olney Avenue, in the heart of Southeas...
Published: 11/22/17
Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

Report: Pepin Academies director had alcohol in his system at time of fatal boating accident

CLEARWATER — The former Pepin Academies executive director who died in a watercraft and boat collision on Sept. 23 had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the level at which the state presumes someone is impaired, a toxicology report showed. Just befo...
Published: 11/21/17