Matthew Kaleb Pierson faces charges of aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.
The Highland County Prosecutor is not seeking the death penalty in the case of 19-year-old Matthew Kaleb Pierson, who is accused of killing his niece, Jada Beth Williams, in August. Pierson was indicted on charges of aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.
In reviewing the Pierson case, the trial judge found that only one factor weighed in favor of the death penalty, and that was that the victim "was under the age of 13 at the time of her death."
Factors that weighed against imposition of the death penalty included: the background of the offender, the youth of the offender, and his lack of significant history of prior criminal convictions.
Prosecutor Anneka Collins said that pursuing the death penalty when unsupported by Ohio Revised Code would be irresponsible and an abuse of power: "The power to indict is not something that should be taken lightly. I have never indicted someone for a crime that I know I cannot prove in a court of law. At this time, I know I cannot prove the factors necessary to impose the death penalty."