Sacto 9-1-1
November 6, 2013
Foothill Farms man convicted of murder in wife's death

A Foothill Farms man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of his wife during an argument at their home in which his daughter also was shot.

In addition, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette convicted 39-year-old John Murdock Pierce of personal use of a firearm as well as felony assault with a firearm and inflicting great bodily injury. Pierce also was found to be sane at the time of the crime, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

On Feb. 13, 2011, Pierce summoned his wife, 37-year-old Tiffany Marie O'Hanlon, along with their 11-year-old daughter and two young sons, to the living room of the home in the 5200 block of Valparaiso Circle, authorities said. Pierce and his wife began to argue, and he attempted to tie her up. As she resisted, Pierce struck her in the head with a pistol and accused her of plotting to kill him.

O'Hanlon screamed for her daughter to call 911. As the girl grabbed the phone to dial, Pierce shot the daughter in the arm.

Both mother and daughter ran for the door. The daughter was able to flee to a neighbor's house for help, but before O'Hanlon could leave the house, Pierce shot her in the back of the head, killing her, authorities said.

Pierce then disassembled the pistol and threw it out of the house as law enforcement officers surrounded the home.

Neighbors testified that Pierce had been acting strangely for a few days before the shooting, and he was admitted to the jail's psychiatric unit after his arrest. He subsequently entered pleas of not guilty and guilty by reason of insanity, and presented evidence of a mental disorder.

Pierce is to be sentenced Dec.13 by Marlette.

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