While awaiting trial for murder, New Orleans man gets life sentence for past crimes

Posted on Feb 3, 2010 in Courts, Local Issues, NOPD


By Gwen Filosa, The Times-Picayune
February 03, 2010, 11:53AM

clifford-pierce.jpgOrleans Criminal Sheriff’s DepartmentClifford G. PierceAn Orleans Parish judge has sentenced Clifford Pierce, 35, to life in prison without parole for being a quadruple offender, three years after a jury found him guilty of possession of a stolen car.

But between the guilty verdict, delivered July 31, 2006, and his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Pierce was freed on an $8,000 personal recognizance bond and eluded Criminal District Court until March 2008, when he was tracked down in a Georgia jail, according to the court minute records.

Having posted bond and given a Shreveport home address, Pierce was free to murder his girlfriend in eastern New Orleans on June 2, 2007, prosecutors say.

Pierce is awaiting trial accused of the second-degree murder of Tammie Johnson, who was killed at 4817 Rosalia Drive. District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office secured a murder indictment from a grand jury last fall.

Johnson, 36, died of a shotgun blast to the chest.

Pierce has a motion hearing on the murder case scheduled for Wednesday before Judge Frank Marullo, but another judge, Lynda Van Davis, presided over the stolen car case that landed Pierce a life sentence.

Davis deemed Pierce a multiple offender after a hearing Tuesday, and sentenced him to life.

State Police said Pierce confessed to killing Johnson during an argument, and then taking off in her 2000 Ford Expedition, which was later found in Natchitoches.

Pierce stole two other vehicles after he dumped the Expedition, state troopers said, and also pawned Johnson’s jewelry. Pawn shop receipts led troopers to Pierce, who was in Georgia.

Pierce was serving time in Cobb County, Ga., for unrelated crimes when State Police took his confession to the New Orleans homicide. Pierce was arrested in June on a murder warrant and booked into Orleans Parish Prison.

The stolen car case began with Pierce’s arrest June 12, 2005, about two months before the Hurricane Katrina disaster crippled the New Orleans criminal justice system.

Pierce’s trial was among the first to take place post-Katrina at the Tulane Avenue courthouse on June 5, 2006, when a jury couldn’t reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared. Prosecutors, then led by DA Eddie Jordan, secured a guilty verdict a month later at a new trial.

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