BARTOW — Employees at Lakeland Automall were shocked to hear about the charges against Lynn Pierson, who is being held without bail on three charges of attempted murder after investigators say he stabbed his 8-year-old granddaughter, 93-year-old mother-in-law and a 48-year-old man.

Pierson worked there from 1987 to 2006 as a Ford technician and was a reliable, well-liked employee, according to Bill Mutz, president and co-owner of the Lakeland Automall.

“He was very low-key and steady in his job,” Mutz said of Pierson in a phone message. “He was very even-keeled. What we saw at work was certainly drastically different from what we have read about in the paper.”

Pierson was arrested early Tuesday after his wife placed a 911 call to sheriff’s deputies. Pierson’s stepdaughter, Andrea Wall, the mother of 8-year-old Lindsey Jernigan, is a sheriff’s dispatcher, but she was not at work when the stabbing occurred.

After Pierson was arrested he told deputies he was angry about the close relationship his granddaughter had with her mother and he wanted to make them unhappy, investigators said. He told them he had been planning to kill them for months.

All three of the victims are expected to live, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re just so concerned for the family, and we’re keeping them in our prayers, and him too,” Mutz said.

Pierson will be represented by assistant public defender Guy Bradstock. Public Defender Marion Moorman said they would review records from Pierson’s previous hospitalizations and would determine whether Pierson should undergo a psychiatric examination.

Pierson had never been arrested before Tuesday’s stabbings, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

However, starting in 2006, the Sheriff’s Office was called to his house several times, including once when they took him into custody for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation and once when they were told that he had just come home from Peace River Center and had taken an overdose of pills.