Sarah Pearce, a Homedale woman who spent a dozen years in prison for her part in the brutal beating of a motorist in Canyon County, told her probation officer she relapsed recently in her struggle to stay off methamphetamine.
Pierce’s mother told the same officer she flat out doesn’t believe her 33-year-old daughter. Instead of a relapse, Anita Truesdale said she believes her daughter has been using meth continually in recent months and needs to be sent to an inpatient treatment program.
The probation officer, Jeremy Wallingford, called Pearce immature and “highly manipulative” in a report to court officials. Pearce requires “further structure, forced sobriety and more intensive substance abuse treatment and mental health counseling,” Wallingford said.
“Ms. Truesdale is believed to work harder at the defendant’s probation (than Pearce) does,” Wallingford wrote. “The defendant’s mother has reported growing tired, disappointed and very frustrated with the defendant’s drug-related behavior and failure to take protective steps to change her life.”
Pearce was arrested last month and charged with a probation violation stemming from alleged meth use and possession of a syringe filled with a liquid form of methamphetamine. She was also charged in Gem County with possession of drug paraphernalia for the syringe, which officers found in her pants pocket.
And, she has charges pending in Ada County. She was arrested Dec. 14 on two counts of possession of a controlled substance, introducing contraband into the jail and possession of paraphernalia. She is scheduled for arraignment on those charges Dec. 28 before Magistrate Theresa Gardunia.
Friday, Judge Gregory Culet agreed to delay Pearce’s arraignment on the probation violation until Jan. 15 so she could review the charges against her. She wasn’t presented with the paperwork until after she arrived that morning in the Canyon County courtroom.
Pierce has bounced from place to place since her 2014 release from prison. She originally lived in Homedale, where she worked for a sandwich shop. Last summer, she moved to Caldwell to live with her girlfriend. After splitting up with her partner, she and her mother moved to Emmett before returning to Homedale.
Wallingford reported that Pearce held several jobs, but didn’t keep any of them very long. She was unemployed at the time of her arrest.
In 2003, Pearce was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for aiding and abetting attempted murder, kidnapping, battery, robbery and criminal conspiracy from an assault three years earlier. Washington state resident Linda LeBrane, passing through the Treasure Valley on Interstate 84 west of Caldwell on her way to Utah on June 15, 2000, was forced off the road. Four assailants stabbed, beat and left her for dead and set LeBrane’s car on fire.
Pearce, who maintained her innocence throughout her trial and incarceration, was arrested along with three Nampa residents. LeBrane fingered Pearce, who claimed she was the victim of mistaken identity, as the ringleader.
Pearce’s case drew national attention when the Idaho Innocence Project took up her case. She and her supporters hoped she would be exonerated, but the guilty verdict stood. However, she was released from prison in March 2014 after authorities agreed to revise her sentence to time served and five years of probation.
Where are the others now?
John Wurdemann, now 45, was released from prison on Oct. 25 after posting $100,000 bond. He was allowed to leave custody while he pursues an appeal of his conviction. He was originally sentenced to life in prison.
Kenneth Wurdemann Jr., now 47, was convicted of aggravated battery and robbery. He was sentenced to 10 to 13 years in prison and was released on parole in April 2012. In December 2013, he was returned to custody following a parole violation. He is scheduled to be released from the Idaho State Correctional Center in Boise on Dec. 26, following the completion of his sentence.
Jeremy Flores Sanchez, now 40, is serving a life sentence at the Idaho State Correctional Institution in Boise. He was convicted of conspiracy, attempted murder, aggravated battery, kidnapping and robbery. His conviction was upheld last year by the Idaho Supreme Court.