Spencer Antowyn Pierce gets life for Sonic murder

Spencer Antowyn Pierce Sr. (Johnston Police Dept.) and the Sonic Drive-In where he killed a 20-year-old employee (KCCI screenshot)

A 56-year-old man in Iowa will spend the rest of his life behind bars for attacking a Sonic Drive-In employee who he claimed was sexually harassing his granddaughter, stabbing the 20-year-old man to death with a folding knife in the restaurant’s kitchen area last year.

Des Moines County District Court Judge Lawrence P. McLellan ordered Spencer Antowyn Pierce Sr. on Wednesday to serve a sentence of life in a state correctional facility without the possibility of parole for the slaying of Jermaine Whitaker Moses, authorities announced.

A jury in December found Pierce guilty on four felony charges, including one count of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree burglary, and one count of “going armed with intent” in the March 2022 attack on Moses and another Sonic employee. In addition to the life sentence, Pierce was also sentenced to two 25-year sentences on the burglary charges and a five-year sentence on the “going armed” charge, to run concurrently with the life sentence.

Pierce’s granddaughter was also an employee at the eatery where the victims worked.

According to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by Law&Crime, police responded to a reported stabbing at about 5:16 p.m. on March 7, 2022, at the Sonic Drive-In at 5350 Merle Hay Road in Johnston, which is about nine miles northwest of Des Moines. Once there, responders said they found Moses suffering from a stab wound to the chest.

A closed-circuit security camera at the restaurant captured Pierce sitting in the outside dining area of the Sonic, appearing to wait for Moses and another employee named Donald Schisler. When the two men arrived for their shifts, Pierce can be seen following them into the building “in an area not open to the public.”

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