In a case that grabbed national headlines in 1986, electrician, James Pierson was discovered lying face down on his driveway at his home on Long Island, New York. As investigators probed the case, they began to suspect that Pierson’s teenage daughter Cheryl was responsible for hatching a plan to kill her abusive father. test
James Pierson had an abusive and incestuous relationship with his 16-year-old daughter Cheryl. The abuse had continued while Cheryl’s mom had laid dying from a kidney disease the previous year.
When Pierson threatened to rape Cheryl’s younger sister, she decided to put a stop to his behavior once and for all. She and her boyfriend Rob Cuccio agreed to pay a schoolmate $1000 to kill Pierson.
She had confided in classmate Sean Pico telling him of the abuse. Pico said years later that he didn’t mind killing Pierson because he believed he was helping a friend escape a life of torment. He also stated that he didn’t mind going to prison as he felt his life had no future.
After Cheryl and Rob had given him a partial payment of $400, Pico shot Pierson five times in the head and chest with a .22-caliber rifle. He was arrested a week later and spent 16 years in prison for the crime.
Rob Cuccio pleaded guilty to criminal solicitation and received probation. Cheryl pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but due to the circumstances of the abuse inflicted on her by her father, she only received a 6-month jail sentence and was released after three and a half months.
Cheryl said some years later: “I didn’t realize at that time that murder was so final, I just wanted the problem to stop and go away.”
Rob and Cheryl eventually married and have tried to move forward with their lives and put the past behind them.
The case airs on People Magazine Investigates at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.