Crime - Sacto 911

Foothill Farms man receives 59-years-to-life sentence in killing of wife

A 39-year-old Foothill Farms man who killed his wife with a handgun in 2011 was sentenced Friday to 59 years to life in prison, the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement.

John Murdock Pierce was sentenced by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette, who on Nov. 6 had found Pierce guilty of first-degree murder and personal use of a firearm.

On Feb. 13, 2011, Pierce gathered his 37-year-old wife, Tiffany Marie O’Hanlon, and their 11-year-old daughter and two sons to the living room of a house in the 5200 block of Valparaiso Circle in Foothill Farms.

Authorities said an argument ensued and Pierce attempted to tie up O’Hanlon.

Pierce struck her O’Hanlon in the head with a handgun when she resisted. He then shot his daughter as she attempted to call 911. Both mother and daughter ran to the front door. The daughter escaped, but Pierce shot O’Hanlon in the back of the head before she could exit the house, authorities said.

Marlette also found that Pierce was sane at the time of the shooting. After the murder, neighbors had testified that Pierce was acting strangely in the days prior to the shooting. As a result, Pierce was admitted into the jail’s psychiatric unit after his arrest. He subsequently entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity and presented evidence of a mental disorder, according to the DA’s release.

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