Fugitive from Delaware to face justice in death of Omaha toddler

Leamond Pierce

LINCOLN — Nebraska gets first crack at a paroled killer from Delaware wanted for a 2011 traffic crash that killed a 2-year-old Omaha boy.

Leamond Pierce, 53, arrived Wednesday night in Lincoln, where he faces a misdemeanor charge of motor vehicle homicide. He was scheduled to appear at a court hearing this afternoon where he will be formally charged.

He was arrested last week in southern Illinois, after eluding authorities for nearly three months.

Pierce, who has a history of parole violations, was not supposed to leave Delaware in 2011, when he was behind the wheel of a semitrailer truck in Nebraska. On Dec. 3 of that year, his truck crushed the rear of a Toyota Camry on Interstate 80 near Lincoln during a snowstorm, killing Aidan Curry. The boy’s parents and sister survived.

Authorities in Nebraska and Delaware discussed where to first send Pierce after last week’s arrest. On Wednesday, Jennifer Brock, Aidan’s mother, said she was pleased to learn that Pierce would have to appear before a Nebraska judge.

“The fact he has to go through every step of the process and face us — and, in some way, face Aidan — is very meaningful,” she said. “If he had been able to skip that step, we would have felt robbed in the pursuit of justice for our son.”

If convicted in Nebraska, Pierce faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

In late May, nearly 18 months after the crash, the county attorney filed the misdemeanor charge. Until then, Delaware authorities were unaware that Pierce had been involved in a fatal accident in another state.

When Nebraska is done with him, Pierce will be returned to Delaware, which has issued a warrant for his arrest on the parole violation, said Johnette Graf, system analyst to the Delaware Board of Parole.

Delaware places convicted criminals under one of five levels of supervision, ranging from community release to full incarceration. The five-member board, appointed by Delaware’s governor, will decide where to place Pierce.

Pierce served 13 years of a life term for the 1981 execution-style shooting death of a 30-year-old man in Wilmington, Del. Since his first release in 1995, he has violated parole repeatedly and was returned to custody three times.

On the day of the fatal crash, snow and ice covered the roads in eastern Nebraska. A Nebraska State Patrol accident investigator determined that Pierce was driving 69 mph in a 55 mph zone and slowed to 60 mph as he struck the rear of Brock’s car.

Brock and her husband, Robert Curry, have said they hope Delaware officials will decide to keep Pierce in prison for the rest of his life.

Graf declined to speculate on what the Parole Board might do. She said, however, that in her 13 years working in the parole system, she has never seen an inmate declared ineligible for a future parole hearing.

Just because the board grants a hearing doesn’t mean it will necessarily release the inmate, she said. Inmates must demonstrate they deserve release by their behavior.

Pierce was arrested on Aug.19 in O’Fallon, Ill. When approached by law enforcement officers, the fugitive ran and then struggled in an attempt to escape. An Illinois police officer used a Taser to subdue him.

At a court hearing last week, Pierce waived extradition to Nebraska.

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