3rd Escondido Teen Arrested in Pearce Slaying

Times Staff Writer

A third Escondido teen-ager was arrested Friday in connection with the slaying of Robert (Wayne) Pearce, the estranged husband of former Orange Glen teacher's aide Roberta Pearce.

Authorities said Friday that a 16-year-old student at Orange Glen High School surrendered himself and was arrested on suspicion of murder, solicitation of murder and conspiracy to murder.

The student was implicated in testimony Thursday in Vista Municipal Court by another teen-ager, Anthony Pilato, who along with Isaac Hill, both 15, have pleaded guilty to killing Pearce, 40, outside his Cardiff apartment on Jan. 31.

Pilato and Hill testified this week in the murder trial of Roberta Pearce, 41, alleging that it was at her behest--and the promise of receiving two cars and sharing $100,000 of her husband's $200,000 life insurance policy--that they killed the man.

On Thursday, Pilato testified that he originally was brought into the murder scheme by a third teen-ager who lived with Roberta Pearce at her Valley Center home. Pilato said the other youth told Pearce that he had found someone who would murder her husband and then connected him, Pilato, with the woman.

Pilato said he thought the other boy and Pearce were kidding, but that the other youth insisted to Pilato that he should kill Robert Pearce and encouraged him to carry out the killing when he balked. The boy, however, did not participate in the actual killing, Pilato said.

On Friday morning, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Carlos Armour, head of the district attorney's juvenile office, the third youth turned himself in.

He is being held at Juvenile Hall.

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