Defense rests in Dana Pierce murder trial — (The Statesman)

Original article no longer available

The Statesman

May 15, 2002

By Sarah Coppola

AMERICAN-STATESMAN GEORGETOWN — The defense rested in the Dana Pierce murder trial Wednesday, while the prosecution tried to portray Pierce as a liar. Pierce, 36, shot and killed her boyfriend, Shawn Rendon, in May 2002.

Her lawyers have argued that she shot Rendon, who they say was an abusive man, in self-defense. But Assistant District Attorney Jana McCown has said Pierce was not in danger. If convicted, Pierce could face up to life in prison.

The lawyers expect to make closing arguments by the end of the week. The defense’s final witness, psychotherapist Toby Myers, said she believes Pierce was an abused woman and felt sufficiently afraid of Rendon to shoot him. She had interviewed Pierce four times after the shooting. Pierce has said she wasn’t familiar with guns and didn’t know how to pump the 12-gauge shotgun before firing a second shot into Rendon.

Joel Ferrell, Pierce’s ex-husband, testified Wednesday that Pierce accompanied him on rabbit-hunting trips and had fired a similar pump shotgun. Ferrell also testified that Pierce threw things when they argued and once pointed a pistol at him when he came home early and startled her. Some of Pierce’s co-workers at Fox Service Co., a contractor for repair work, said Pierce lied to them about money and her living arrangements. Pierce borrowed money and a credit card from co-worker Jackie May in the fall of 2001, May testified. Pierce told May she needed money because Rendon had left her and she had to move out of their home into an apartment. At that time, however, Pierce was still living with Rendon.

May told Pierce to use the credit card for emergencies only, but Pierce ran up the bill with restaurant meals and Victoria’s Secret merchandise and paid back only $1,000 of the $12,000 she owes, May said.

Pierce had told her she might be able to get money from a trust fund controlled by her mother, but that money never materialized, May said. Pierce had testified that she doesn’t have a trust fund and never told friends she did.

In 2001 a doctor diagnosed Pierce with depression and prescribed medication, but another co-worker, Jody Willis, testified that she thought Pierce faked her depression so she could take disability leave. One of Pierce’s bosses, Bob Fabrizio, said he loaned her $1,500 after she told him she had split with Rendon and needed to make a rent payment. Pierce told him “she needed money so her kids wouldn’t be put out on the street.” Then Pierce, sitting in his office, started to cry. “It was an Oscar-winning performance,” Fabrizio said. Fabrizio made out a check to Pierce’s landlord, but Pierce never paid him back. “I don’t expect that she will,” he said. scoppola@statesman.com; 246-0043