CRIME HUNTER: Serial killer Junior Pierce a loser in life and death

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Junior Pierce was one of those killers the U.S. south breeds like the kudzu that grows like wildfire alongside Dixie’s highways.

Until he was referenced in Netflix’s Mindhunter Season 2, the little-known Pierce wasn’t exactly a bright, shining star in the constellation of serial killers.

Pierce was similar to the athlete who has a stellar career playing for a small market team and never truly gets his due.

But during a six-month rampage, Pierce proved as driven by a chilling bloodlust that ranked with the most monstrous.

And by the time he died at the end of May at the Georgia Diagnostics Centre he had been jailed 49 years.

Only a brief respite in the U.S. death penalty during his crime spree saved Junior from the electric chair.

His story is one of woe.

Pierce grew up poor in rural Georgia with an abusive mother that caused him severe psychological duress. More often than not he went hungry.

Troubled serial killer Junior Pierce.

Troubled serial killer Junior Pierce.

A brief stint in the U.S. Army ended with a doctor’s note and helped along by an IQ test that put his intellect at 70.

Bottom-of-the-barrel physical labour followed, culminating with a factory job and marriage.

But sometime in the late 1950s, Pierce suffered a head injury and began exhibiting bizarre behaviour, including a deep-seated belief in his own unique qualities and a sense of superiority.

He later told detectives he spoke seven languages.

Junior eventually landed in prison for a slew of petty crimes before being released in May 1970.

A jailhouse shrink warned: „[He] may be dangerous to himself and others.“

Peggy Cuttino, 13, was Pierce’s second victim.

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Peggy Cuttino, 13, was Pierce’s second victim.

Less than a month after he was released, the rootless Pierce made his way to North Augusta, SC where he found his first victim.

She was 18-year-old nanny Ann Goodwin. On June 27, 1970, while burglarizing a home in the sleepy town he fatefully crossed paths with Goodwin whom he shot dead where she stood.

It was the second murder that put Pierce on the big board.

On Dec. 18, 1970, Peggy Cuttino, 13, of Sumter, SC was planning to meet her sister for lunch.

She left around 1 p.m. but never showed up.

Peggy was a child of privilege. Her father was state representative James Cuttino and when he raised the alarm bell after 45 minutes, cops listened.

Twelve days later her battered body was found about 16 km from where she had last been seen. The bright teen had been beaten and suffocated.

Before investigators had even found her body, Junior was killing again.

On Dec. 20, he shot to death a gas station employee named Joe Fletcher for $78. On Jan. 12, 1971 he robbed another store in rural Georgia and shot to death Lacey Tigpen, 51.

Junior didn’t want any witnesses.

He struck again on Jan. 22, when he kidnapped Helen Wilcox, 32. Junior took the terrified woman to a nearby woods where he raped her before ending her life with a single bullet.

Wilcox’s body was buried in a shallow grave. But the noose was tightening around the redneck killer.

On Jan. 28, 1971, Junior robbed another store and shot to death its 60-year-old owner, Vivian Miles. The southern thug then brutally beat Miles‘ 5-year-old granddaughter who miraculously survived.

But as he fled the murder scene, a truck driver spotted him who Junior in turn tried to kill. The trucker gave cops a description of the killer. It was two plus two equals four for the serial killer.

The law caught up to Junior on March 8, 1971 just after he robbed a gas station.

During his interrogation, he copped to six murders but detectives have always believed there may have been many more. Cops found a treasure trove of evidence in his apartment and car.

In Georgia and South Carolina, he was convicted on all counts. Later, appeals that claimed his Miranda rights were violated were tossed in the trash can.

Approximately one news outlet picked up the news that Junior Pierce was dead.

A loser in life and a loser in death.

UNIDENTIFIED MURDER VICTIM

WHEN: April 13, 1977

WHERE: Tofield, AB

411:  People searching a 1.8 metre deep septic tank to retrieve a pump found the unidentified homicide victim’s decomposing remains. It’s believed he had been murdered months earlier, then rolled in a yellow bedsheets and tossed head-first into the tank. The victim had been turtured with a blowtorch and cigarettes, beaten and sexually assaulted before he was shot multiple times.

Cops believe the killer(s) are familiar with the area. It is suspected the dead man worked on local farms and probably not from Alberta.

DESCRIPTION: Indigenous, brown hair,  26-40-years-old, 5’5″ to 5’7″, 145-165 lbs., medium build, right-handed and suffered from a childhood illness. He was wearing a blue Levi shirt with snap buttons, gray T-shirt, jeans, gray wool socks, brown imitation Wallabee shoes.

CONTACT: The RCMP, Crime Stoppers or your local police service.

bhunter@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @HunterTOSun

Author: uwe.roland.gross

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