A 32-year-old Idaho woman who spent nearly 12 years in prison for a heinous crime that she contends she didn’t commit may face more time behind bars if she’s found guilty of an alleged probation violation.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Sarah K. Pearce on Nov. 25, and it was served in Gem County, according to online court records. Pearce posted $50,000 bond on Dec. 3. Pearce made her first appearance on this probation violation charge Tuesday afternoon, and she is scheduled to be arraigned in district court Dec. 18.
On Sept. 29, Pearce was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia in Gem County. She is scheduled for a pretrial conference on that charge Dec. 22.
Pearce, made national news when the Idaho Innocence Project took up her case, and she was released from prison in March 2014. Although she and her supporters hoped for exoneration, her guilty verdict stands and they settled for a revision in her sentence to time served, with five years of supervised probation. Her story was featured on Dateline NBC.
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Pearce was convicted of aiding and abetting attempted murder, kidnapping, battery, robbery and criminal conspiracy in connection with a June 2000 attack on motorist Linda LeBrane, a Washington woman who was passing through the Treasure Valley on her way to Utah. LeBrane was stabbed, beaten and left for dead, and her car was set ablaze.
LeBrane pegged Pearce as the ringleader in the attack on Interstate 84 west of Caldwell, but Pearce said it was a case of mistaken identity. LeBrane never wavered in her belief that Pearce was guilty, but in 2014 said she accepted the sentence amendment which set Pearce free after a dozen years. Her original sentence called for 15 years to life in prison.
Kenneth Wurdemann, John Wurdemann and Jeremy Sanchez also were convicted on multiple charges for their involvement in the attack.
In May, Pearce was arrested on drug possession and probation violation charges after an officer responding to a burglary call encountered her outside a Caldwell apartment. Those charges were dropped after lab tests showed that a syringe found in pants that Pearce was wearing did not contain a controlled substance, according to court records.