LINCOLN — Paroled killer Leamond Pierce eluded authorities for nearly three months after being charged with taking the life of 2-year-old Omaha boy in a traffic crash.
His flight from justice ended Monday in a small city in southwestern Illinois.
“We're so happy he's off the streets,” said Jennifer Brock of Omaha, whose son, Aidan, died in the Dec. 3, 2011, crash on Interstate 80 near Lincoln. “He can't hurt anybody else now.”
The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Pierce in O'Fallon, Ill., and booked him into jail shortly before 2 p.m., said Sgt. Michael Missey of the St. Clair County Sheriff's Office. The 53-year-old Delaware man will soon go before a judge to declare whether he will fight extradition.
It was unclear Monday whether he would be sent to Nebraska or to Delaware, where he faces more serious consequences.
Pierce is on parole for the 1981 slaying of a 30-year-old man in Wilmington, Del. At the time of the Nebraska crash, he was driving a truck for a Wilmington company, although he was not authorized to leave Delaware.
Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly charged Pierce on May 31 with misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide. Kelly said Monday that it was too early to determine how the case will play out. In Nebraska, he faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted, but in Delaware he would be headed back to prison.
Kelly said he had no other details about Pierce's arrest. A message left with the U.S. Marshals Service in Illinois late Monday was not immediately returned.
Brock said she was informed by authorities that Pierce was arrested as he walked out of his father's residence. He reportedly ran but was quickly caught, she said.
Pierce was eastbound on Interstate 80 near Waverly, Neb., when his truck rear-ended a Toyota Camry driven by Robert Curry, the boy's father. Brock was in the front passenger seat. The couple's two children were properly secured in child seats. Curry suffered injuries that required hospitalization.
An accident reconstruction specialist with the Nebraska State Patrol concluded that Pierce's excessive speed during slick, winter driving conditions was the “primary contributing factor” in the collision. He was driving 60 mph in a 55 mph zone in an area where at least five other vehicles had slid off the roadway.
Under the terms of his parole, he was supposed to obtain permission to leave the state, which he failed to do. Yet despite the fact that the crash was investigated and reports were filed, Pierce did not disclose it to his parole officer. Delaware officials didn't learn of the violation until Pierce was recently charged in Nebraska.
It's not the first violation for Pierce, who served 13 years of a life sentence for second-degree murder.
Since his original release in 1995, he was sent back to prison three times for a string of traffic offenses, missed curfew checks and failure to meet with parole officers, according to a recent report in the Wilmington News Journal. The longest he spent behind bars for any of the violations was just over two years.
He had been out of prison for about a 1½ years when he was involved in the Nebraska crash.
Brock and her husband created a Facebook page called “Catch Leamond Pierce.” The page now contains a posting that reads, “They got him!”
“We hope he'll stay in the prison system this time,” Brock said. “He has proven time and time again he has no regard for the law. He will reoffend if given the opportunity.”
Monday marked a milestone in the months since they lost their son, she added.
“We might finally get a little bit more justice for Aidan.”