Jury returns guilty verdict in 75 minutes

Derrick Pierce will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in the beating and torture death of Keisha Ward and the nearly fatal beating of Johnny Tyler.

Pierce showed no emotion as visiting Superior Court Judge Tanya Wallace read the verdict Monday. The jury returned the guilty verdict 75 minutes after beginning deliberations.

Kimberly Strickland, Ward’s aunt, read a compilation of statements from the family to the court.

“You stared at us throughout the trial, and never once showed remorse,” she said.

Defense attorney William Gore spoke to the family after Pierce left the courtroom with deputies, preparatory to being turned over to the Department of Corrections.

Antwan Johnson, one of two co-defendants in the case, pleaded guilty in February and is serving a 30-year sentence. He was not called to testify against Pierce, although his testimony was part of the plea agreement. The third co-defendant, Amanda Canady, was called to testify about a letter written by convicted murderer Tiffany Faulk at the behest of Canady. Neither woman would provide details on the stand, and each pleaded the fifth amendment.

See Thursday’s edition of the NR for more on the last day of the two-week trial.