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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: February 23, 2005
Date of arrest: 4 days after
Date of birth: October 19, 1983
Victims profile: Kevin Pierce Sr., 26, and Victor Ford, 25
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to 35 to 70 years in prison on March 23, 2009

Tucson woman sentenced to up to 80 years

March 24, 2009

OMAHA, Neb. — A 25-year-old Arizona woman accused of luring two Omaha, Neb., men to their deaths and shooting one of the men has been sentenced to up to 80 years in prison.

An Omaha judge on Monday sentenced Taiana Matheny of Tucson to 35 to 70 years on a second-degree murder charge and five to 10 years for each of two conspiracy counts. The conspiracy sentences are to be served concurrently after the murder sentence.

Matheny admitted luring 26-year-old Kevin Pierce Sr. and 25-year-old Victor Ford to apartment complexes. That's where her boyfriend, Terry Sellers, and his friend, Terrell Thorpe, waited to rob them.

She says Sellers forced her to shoot Pierce.

Officials say without her testimony, the first-degree murders convictions of Sellers and Thorpe would have been impossible.


Defendant's fate may turn on words of convicted killer

By Todd Cooper - World-Herald News

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taiana Matheny acknowledged that Feb. 23, 2005, was all about her.

That day, she went to the mall with her new boyfriend, Terry Sellers. Got a manicure and a tanning session. Bought some fuzzy boots.

And that night, at her boyfriend's urging, she lured Kevin Pierce to some apartments, pressed a revolver to his head, pulled the trigger and killed him.

But during a trial this week and last, Matheny testified that she has shed her selfish, sick ways.

"Today,” she said on the witness stand, "is all about the truth.”

Matheny went on to testify to what she says is the truth. That she, Sellers and Sellers' best friend, Terrell Thorpe, set out to rob Kevin Pierce Sr. and Victor Ford Jr. on consecutive nights in February 2005. That she would bat her eyes at the victims, flirt with them, exchange phone numbers and lure them to their deaths.

That she and Sellers killed both.

That their murder spree was thwarted when a third intended victim, Dawayne Kearney, fought back and survived.

The question is, will jurors believe Matheny and convict Thorpe of first-degree murder?

In closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutors Jim Masteller and Leigh Ann Retelsdorf acknowledged that Terrell Thorpe didn't pull the trigger, didn't fire the shots that killed Pierce and Ford. However, they urged jurors to find Thorpe guilty of murder under a state law that holds accomplices responsible if someone dies during the commission of a felony, such as robbery.

Jurors got the case Wednesday afternoon — and will return today to deliberate Thorpe's fate.

"During this trial, you heard about one week in the life of two best friends — Terry Sellers and Terrell Thorpe,” Masteller said. "A week in which these two best friends used Terry Sellers' new girlfriend as bait to lure two young men for the purpose of robbing them of their possessions and robbing them of their very lives.”

Thorpe's attorney, Andrew Wilson, pounced on Matheny's testimony. He pointed out that she lied through two initial police interviews about her involvement in the spree. She later admitted killing Pierce and luring both to their deaths.

He asked jurors if they really could trust Matheny.

"She's a notorious liar,” he said. "She's a coldblooded killer. She shot someone, a stranger, point-blank, execution-style. That's who she is.”

Matheny pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and is awaiting sentencing. She faces up to life in prison.

Matheny gave a crisp description of the first killing, of luring Pierce, of going with Sellers and Thorpe to an apartment complex near 65th Street and Grand Avenue, of firing the shot that killed Pierce.

Matheny was able to give only a foggy description of Ford's murder. "She was completely wasted,” Masteller said.

Prosecutors said Thorpe provided the revolver used in both killings. He acted as a lookout and getaway driver. He helped remove car rims from Pierce's vehicle and hide them. He handed Matheny Clorox wipes and had her wipe down the dashboard and inside of Ford's vehicle.

That makes Thorpe guilty of murder — just as guilty as Sellers and Matheny, Masteller said. Sellers is serving a life sentence — the same term Thorpe faces.

Masteller said Thorpe provided further proof of his involvement when he ran into Matheny in a holding cell in August. Matheny was waiting to be transferred; Thorpe was heading to court.

Matheny testified that Thorpe tried to intimidate her. Another inmate confirmed the confrontation.

"He doesn't say to her, 'Tell the truth.' Doesn't say 'Lie in court for me,”' Masteller said. "He says, 'Don't come to court.'

"Why doesn't he want her to come to court? Because he knows she will testify about his involvement.”


Key Witness Takes Stand In Sellers Trial

By Gary Smollen -

December 4, 2007

The prosecution's star witness in the murder trial of Terry Sellers entered a guilty plea for her role in the case Tuesday. Taiana Matheny then described the murder-robbery scheme that took the lives of two Omaha men.

Matheny listened as the prosecutor recounted how she would lure men with the promise of sex to secluded places where they would be robbed and murdered.

Once her guilty plea was accepted, the jury returned to the courtroom to listen to how Matheny says the scheme unfolded.

"I understand that they need her testimony to convict the others, but she first still took someone's life,” says Erika Wilson, friend of murder victim Kevin Pierce.

Wilson was unimpressed with Matheny and her testimony. Matheny admitted to murdering Pierce. "He was my boyfriend at the time and we had a daughter together," says Wilson.

After pleading guilty to murder, Matheny began to cry, but regained her composure before testifying. Then, in a strong voice, she took the jury back to the crime scenes, how they set up the victims and how they robbed and murdered them.

"What she did was certainly cold-blooded," says Matheny’s attorney James Martin Davis.

On the stand, Matheny told the jury about her guilty plea and what she believes the consequences will be. Matheny said, "I'm almost positive I’m going to spend the rest of my life in prison.”

Matheny also testified that she was intimidated by Sellers and said at the time, "I did what people wanted me to, whether I wanted to or not," and, "I never questioned anything."

"She's the one that puts him at the scene of all three crimes and she's the individual who worked with him to lure these people to their deaths,” says Davis.

Sellers’ family was also not impressed with Matheny and her testimony.

Sellers father says much of it is a lie. "Don't nobody tell me what to do, I ain't going to go and shoot nobody because somebody tell me to do this and that,” says Terry Fisher. “You can't force nobody to do nothing."

Prosecutors can cut a deal for the testimony of an alleged co-conspirator and make their case much stronger.

Matheny's deal was to plead guilty to second-degree murder and two conspiracy counts. Prosecutors dropped two counts of first-degree murder, three weapons charges and a drug charge.

Matheny still faces a maximum of life plus 100 years in prison.


Attorney Says Client Not Guilty

March 10, 2005

The attorney for a 21-year-old woman facing two murder charges says his client didn't kill anyone. Authorities say she murdered two men and tried to murder a third.

Taiana Matheny, of Tucson, Arizona, is accused of killing Kevin Pierce and Victor Ford. Both men were shot in the head about two weeks ago. The shootings happened a few blocks and less than 24 hours apart.

Matheny's attorney, James Martin Davis says, "It's the classic case of falling in with the wrong crowd. She came to Omaha despite numerous warnings from her family."

Davis says Matheny met Terry Sellers at a party and came to Omaha with him on February 21st. Three days later Kevin Pierce's body was found behind an apartment complex across from 4725 N. 65th Street. Less than 24 hours later, Ford's body was found just blocks away, at 4403 North 62nd Street.

Pierce and Ford had both been shot in the head with a .38 but Davis say it was not Matheny's gun.

"She didn't kill anybody," he says.

Davis says that Matheny claims the weapon belongs to Sellers.

Sellers came into the picture two days after the Ford murder. Police say Matheny tried to kill a third man with a .38. He is identified as Dwayne Kearney of Omaha. Investigators say that Kearney put up a struggle, shots were fired and Kearney then wound up being stabbed by a third party later identified as Sellers. The 22-year-old Sellers was arrested along with Matheny in connection with the felony assault and stabbing.

A witness who called 911 about the Kearney assault claims to have heard a gunshot and witnessed the attack.

Davis says his client tried to pull Sellers off Dwayne Kearney after a drug deal went bad. It was that incident that attack allowed police to tie the gun to the two murders.

Davis says, "These people did not deserve to die. What happened in these two instances was cold, calculating, brutal and as sadistic as I've ever seen in my 30 years in the justice system."

Davis says he has shared information with Omaha police and plans to meet with Douglas County attorney Stu Dornan.

Terry Sellers is currently charged with Attempted Murder and Use of a Weapon to Commit a Felony in the attack against Dwayne Kearney.

Witness Details Altercation

The witness who called 911 about the February 27 incident in which Dwayne Kearney was stabbed was sleeping at the time the confrontation began but was awakened by a gunshot.

"I just had a real bad feeling right when I heard it," he tells us. "Seen two guys fighting in parking lot, noticed a woman standing on side watching them."

Police say that the woman was Taiana Matheny.

Officers say that she and her friend, Terry Sellers, had planned to meet Kearney in the Maple View Apartment parking lot, at 104th Ave. and Maple, to buy drugs from Kearney.

Kearney told police that one person shot at him but missed. That's when he tripped and fell.

"They had him down on the ground," the witness tells us. "The other guys jumped on 'em, just started pounding on 'em. Girl got on top of them also. That's when I said, hurry up call the cops, they're pounding on this guy."

Police found Dwayne Kearney with stab wounds.

Both Sellers and Matheny were charged with attempted murder in his stabbing and booked in jail.

At this point, Terry Sellers has not been charged with the two murders.

Sellers has spent time in jail in the past for carrying a concealed weapon. He grew up in Omaha and attended three different high schools in Omaha but never graduated.


Taiana Matheny


Terry J. Sellers


Terrell Thorpe



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