Man found dead in jail cell hours after arrest for stabbing wife to death in front of seven-year-old son

·2 min read
Police tape around the home in Harris County where Benjamin Pierce allegedly stabbed his wife to death (KHOU11)
Police tape around the home in Harris County where Benjamin Pierce allegedly stabbed his wife to death (KHOU11)

A Houston man has been found dead in his jail cell hours after he was arrested for stabbing his wife to death in front of their seven-year-old son.

Benjamin Pierce, 37, was found unresponsive in a holding cell at Harris County Sheriff’s office in Texas at around 4.30am on Saturday, according to authorities.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on social media that Mr Pierce was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The 37-year-old had been arrested and charged with the murder of his wife Leslie Ann Pierce just hours earlier, after he allegedly called 911 and confessed to stabbing her to death.

Police were called to a home in Harris County at around 8.30am on Friday morning by a man who said he had stabbed his wife.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found the body of Ms Pierce, a 41-year-old teacher, and her husband still at the property.

The couple’s seven-year-old son was present in the home at the time of the attack, though it is unclear if he witnessed what happened, said police.

A 56-year-old man was also present at the home when police arrived.

Before calling 911, the suspect had allegedly called a family member and told them about the stabbing.

A knife believed to be the murder weapon was also recovered from the scene.

The motive for Ms Pierce’s murder is unclear but officials said it was being investigated as a domestic incident.

The 39-year-old mother’s murder shocked the local community, with a neighbour of the family telling KHOU11that he was in disbelief.

“I never would’ve thought that’d be something he would do – I mean, it’s awful,” said Cody Cox.

With Mr Pierce now also dead, an independent investigation has been launched into the suspect’s in-custody death.

Sheriff Gonzalez said that there were no apparent signs of trauma or foul play and the inmate had been held in a single man cell for the “majority of the time”.