Christopher Piersee will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Thursday for murdering his wife and infant son.


 


 

Christopher Piersee will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Thursday for murdering his wife and infant son.

   The 24-year-old defendant agreed in August to plead guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.

   The plea bargain would have Piersee spend the rest of his life behind bars without the chance for probation or parole.

   The hearing was to be held Oct. 26 in Lewis County Circuit Court at Monticello, but was changed after a conflict developed in Judge Russell E. Steele's schedule.

   The judge does not have to follow the sentencing recommendation and there's a chance Piersee could back out of the deal.

   Piersee admitted to killing his 21-year-old wife, Patricia "Tish" Yarbrough Piersee, and the couple's five-month-old son, Landon.

   Piersee shot his wife in the head in the living room of their home at 409 N. Main in LaGrange early the morning of Feb. 3.

   He then dragged her lifeless body to the bedroom and killed the couple's son. An autopsy showed the infant died of blunt force trauma to the head.

   Police arrived after a 9:40 a.m. 911 call from Patricia's father, Eric Yarbrough. No specific motive for the killings has ever been offered.

   At an earlier hearing, witnesses described the ghastly murder scene and what they called Piersee's odd behavior.

   Authorities found Piersee naked in the bedroom with the body of his wife on the floor near the bed and the body of their son in a nearby cradle.

   Investigators found red crosses drawn in blood on both victims' bodies.

   Lewis County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Rob Power testified Piersee said he and his wife had a "ferocious battle" after they "spoke in tongues " during sex the night before the murders and that Piersee knocked over a table and gathered weapons "because he knew the battle was ongoing." He had apparently taken drugs.

   When Power asked if Piersee was responsible for the deaths, the suspect "started to speak in Biblical terms," Power testified.

   According to Power, Piersee called himself the archangel Michael and referred to his wife as Lucifer and his son as the Antichrist, then disavowed any responsibility for the deaths.

   Power said the words "Lucifer" and "Michael" had been scrawled on the walls in blood, and that other words appeared to have been written in blood elsewhere.

   Later, a blood-stained .357 magnum handgun was recovered from Piersee's bed. A hunting knife was found in the dining room.

   The Piersees were married in 2007 in Burlington, Iowa, and moved to LaGrange last year.

   Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jake DeCoster and Public Defenders David Clayton and Todd Schulze, who represented Piersee, have all deferred comment until after sentencing.

   Piersee remained at the Lewis County Jail without bond.