‘We will be missing her forever’: Montgomery Co. man sentenced to 40 years for wife’s murder

Nerlande Foreste's brother described her as "an amazing human being." (Courtesy Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office)(Carrera, Gabriel)

A Montgomery County man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 2019 murder of his wife Friday afternoon, in a historic “no-body” case that largely relied on his own daughter’s testimony against him.

Jean J. Pierre, 50, was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury in May 2023. According to State’s Attorney John McCarthy, this is only the third time in Maryland history that there has been a murder conviction without the recovery of a body.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, McCarthy called the sentencing — the maximum penalty — “absolutely appropriate in the light of the facts and the circumstances and the conduct of the defendant both before and after this killing.” He added that the sentencing guidelines for the crime suggested a 20-year sentence.

Pierre is believed to have stabbed his wife, 41-year-old Nerlande Foreste, at their home on the 20000 block of Rothbury Lane in Montgomery Village on Aug. 21, 2019. Then, prosecutors said he put Foreste’s body in a shipping container and left it in a dumpster, which was later disposed of.

“Without any question, the most novel aspect of this case is the fact that the victim’s body, Ms. Foreste, was never recovered and very likely is never going to be recovered,” said McCarthy, adding that this means Foreste’s family has been “robbed of the ability to have closure.”

At the news conference, the victim’s brother, Samuel Foreste, said that he and his family “always think that one day my sister is going to pop up, because we never buried her.”

According to McCarthy, Pierre’s trial lasted five days, and the jury convicted him after just two hours of deliberation.

Foreste was Pierre’s second wife. His first wife and most of his children were killed in the Haitian earthquake of 2010.

Pierre and his sole surviving daughter, who lost a leg in the earthquake, came to the U.S. as refugees. She was 14 years old at the time of the murder.

According to charging documents, it was Pierre’s daughter who urged her father to contact police when she noticed Foreste had disappeared. She later participated in the investigation and testified during the trial.

“We are particularly grateful to this brave young woman who literally pushed this thing so we even found out about it, who actually had the courage and testified in this matter,” McCarthy said Friday. “Nerlande’s siblings are very thankful to this young woman. It was one of the bravest things you could ever imagine, and I think that’s because she loved the victim in this case.”

McCarthy said at the news conference that a key piece of evidence in the trial was blood splatter found in the bedroom Pierre and Foreste shared. Detectives collected DNA samples from the victim’s brother and sister to confirm there was a “higher than 99.9% chance” the blood found in the bedroom belonged to their sibling, according to McCarthy.

At the news conference, McCarthy added that Foreste was known for never leaving the house without a wig on, and all of her wigs were left in her closet at the time of her disappearance. Her purse, containing her driver’s license and cellphone, were found in the glove compartment of her car.

According to McCarthy, the couple’s marriage was “falling apart” at the time of Foreste’s murder.

“The defendant in this case was in this relationship solely and only for the purpose of obtaining a green card,” said McCarthy at the news conference, adding that a search of Pierre’s cellphone indicated he was having affairs with multiple different women.

“I told the judge that this man had one job and only one job: To take care of his daughter after the mother passed in the earthquake,” said Samuel Foreste at the news conference. “And now, the second woman that she call ‘mother,’ he took that away from her.”

Even though Pierre has been sentenced, Samuel Foreste said “the hurt, the sour, the pain” of losing his sister is never going to go away.

“We will be missing her forever,” he said, describing her as a “great nurse,” “people person” and “amazing human being.”

Kate Corliss

Kate Corliss is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. She is a senior studying journalism at American University and serves as the Campus Life Editor for the student newspaper, The Eagle.

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