Women Behind Bars (S1): Deborah Pieringer & Maryann Acker
The first of two stories in this episode features Deborah Pieringer, who was charged with capital murder in 2003. Deborah was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. As an adult, she ran into financial troubles and began to lean on her parents, Agnes and Loyd Courtney, for loans.
On the morning of November 2, 2001, Deborah stopped by her parent’s home for a visit. According to Deborah, when she left, both her parents were alive. Later that afternoon, authorities found Agnes and Loyd murdered; the cause of death was multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma. DNA evidence ultimately led investigators back to the couple’s own daughter as the murderer. Deborah was eventually convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. Deborah maintains her innocence.
Maryann Acker, a recent high school graduate, was living in Phoenix, Arizona, when she met and fell in love with William Acker. According to testimony, Acker hid his extensive criminal past from Maryann. The couple married and went to Hawaii for a honeymoon, but when it was time to return to the states, Maryann claims William forced her to take part in a scheme to rob tourists to fund their stay. One of their victims was Laurence Hasker. The couple met him at a hotel bar, robbed him, and according to Maryann, William then shot Laurence and dumped the body. The pair then headed back to the states where police say the couple robbed and killed another victim, Cesario Arauza.
In a dramatic case of "he said, she said", both Maryann and William blamed each other for the two murders. Maryann was ultimately found guilty of both murders. William was found guilty of the California murder, but in exchange for his testimony against Maryann in the Hasker trial in Hawaii, the charges against him were dropped.
He is currently in prison serving time for the California murder. Maryann is currently in prison serving time for the two murders, while awaiting a retrial for the murder of Laurence Hasker.