Jeffrey Allen Pierce of Milton-Freewater could spend the rest of his life in prison for years of sexually abusing a relative.
Pierce, 40, heads to court Friday to face sentencing on 36 counts. Defense attorney Thomas Gray of Pendleton recommended a prison sentence of 25 years — the mandatory minimum — according to the Jan. 29 memo he filed with the court.
Jaclyn Jenkins, the chief deputy prosecutor for the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office, in her Jan. 26 sentencing recommendation asked for 162.5 years for Pierce. Jenkins corrected that on Jan. 31 with an amended recommendation of 212.5 years.
“Defendant’s actions,” Jenkins stated in the memo, “and the ramifications of his actions on [the victim], who suffered both emotionally and physically, make a strong sentence a necessity.”
Jenkins in the 19-page document detailed the scope of Pierce’s atrocities against the girl. Pierce began the abuse and molestation around 2008 when she was 7 or 8 and continued the crimes until 2013. According to Jenkins, the girl during the January trial testified Pierce abused her “Probably once a week-ish” between 2011 and the summer of 2012.
Jenkins stated the girl also told the jury she “just wanted it to be over with” and she felt scared and trapped and did not know what to do.
The state charged Pierce with 25 counts each of first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse. The state dismissed 14 counts at trial. Jenkins in the memo stated that was out of concern those counts could overlap with other charges.
The jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on the remaining 36 charges — 17 for sodomy and 19 for sexual abuse.
Jenkins also explained Jessica’s Law for Oregon applies to five of the sodomy counts. The law requires mandatory minimum prison terms of 25 years for first-degree sex crimes involving a victim younger than 12. Using Jessica’s Law and a worksheet to suggest which charges should merge, run consecutive or concurrent, Jenkins calculated 200-plus years for Pierce.
The sentence hearing begins Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the Pendleton courtroom of Circuit Judge Christopher Brauer, and he has the final say on how long Pierce will stay in prison.