A Florida man who was convicted for murdering a teen struck again, and admitted to killing a woman by stabbing her with a screwdriver after he was released early from jail, police said.

The police charged 54-year-old Eric Pierson for first-degree murder after discovering the body of missing 33-year-old Erika Verdecia in a canal near Fort Lauderdale on Saturday. Pierson admitted to stabbing Verdecia four times with a screwdriver on Sept. 25, Sunrise Police said in a  news release Sunday.

Erika Verdecia was a single mother who was reported missing on Sept. 27, three days after she left home, and never returned. Verdecia's friends said they last saw her with a “grimy” man at a sandwich shop who told her his name was Eric Pierson.

Carmen Verdecia, the victim's mother, searched online about Pierson and realized that her daughter was with a convicted killer. “I flipped out,” Carmen said. “I told (police) my daughter was seen with a killer. And then they started looking for her. But it was too late,” she added, ABC News reported.

The police saw both Pierson and Verdecia during a traffic stop on Sept. 25, the same day Verdecia was murdered. Verdecia was in the passenger seat of Pierson's truck and was not found distressed.

When the investigators contacted Pierson on Oct. 4 to enquire about Verdecia, he told them that she walked away when he stopped to get gas shortly after the traffic stop. However, the police found out from the surveillance video that they were at the gas station before the traffic stop.

Pierson's girlfriend reported him to the police on Oct. 15, saying that Pierson often looked at the canal behind her home and said: "Damn that bitch stinks.” She also told police that Pierson said that if they don't find the body then there won't be any case. The police then searched Pierson's vehicle and found bloodstains. The victim's body was recovered a few hours later from the canal.

Pierson has a long history of violence. In 1985, he broke into a home and slit a woman's throat. He was sentenced to 18 years on charges of first-degree attempted murder but was released on parole after serving just four years in jail.

In 1993, Pierson murdered 17-year-old Kristina Whitaker by beating and strangling her. After pleading guilty to second-degree murder, he was sentenced to 40 years in jail but was released after serving 27 years of sentencing.

Though Florida stopped allowing parole to murder convicts requiring them to serve at least 85% of their sentences, Pierson's was eligible for parole as the mandate could not be applied retroactively. Pierson got released from jail in September 2020.

Verdecia's mother raised concerns about why Pierson was allowed to roam free after having a long criminal history. “Why is this guy in the streets? Why?” Carmen told South Florida SunSentinel, according to the ABC News report. “He’s going to pay this time. We’re not going to stop until we see him in the electric chair,” she said.

police-2122376_1920 Representation. A police arrest. Photo: Pixabay