Murderer released from prison kills missing mom in Florida, officials say

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Erika Verdecia (left) in a photo from Sunrise police. Eric Pierson in a photo from AP.

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP/WNCN) — Police have charged a convicted murderer with the slaying of a South Florida woman whose body was found in a canal after being missing for three weeks.

Eric Pierson was charged Saturday with first-degree murder for the slaying of 33-year-old Erika Verdecia. Her stabbed body was found in a suburban Fort Lauderdale canal.

Sunrise police say Pierson confessed to stabbing the single-mother with a screwdriver on Sept. 25.

Pierson had been released from prison in September 2020 after serving 27 years of a 40-year sentence for the 1993 beating and strangling 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker.

In 1985, Pierson broke into a home and slit a woman’s throat. He served four years.

“We now have in custody, Eric Pierson, who has confessed to the murder of Erika Verdecia,” Sunrise police said. “Although this tragic news does not bring Erika back to her family and friends, we hope that it can bring some closure to her loved ones.”

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