Night Terrors & PTSD: Teen Killer Cheryl Pierson's Troubled Life After Monster Dad's Slaying

Jan. 16 2017, Updated 9:30 a.m. ET

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More than 30 years after she masterminded her monster father’s murder, Cheryl Pierson Cuccio is still haunted by the extreme sexual and psychological abuse she claims she suffered as a scared teen.

In her new memoir, Incest, Murder and a Miracle, the teen killer turned married mom, now 47, recounts her childhood hell of her father’s allegedly constant rapes and beatings — and the severe trauma she still endures as a grown woman.

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“Although helped by extensive therapy, I do have lifelong PTSD,” the New York native says, referring to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

She says her PTSD is accompanied by painful flashbacks, panic attacks and night terrors often involving her father’s murder. (As Radar previously reported, Pierson, then 16, paid a classmate to kill her dad James in 1986. She served just over three months in jail due to his years of alleged abuse.)

“I’ve never been able to sleep much because of my childhood nightmares that have never stopped haunting me,” she reveals.

“My most frequent one is about the day my father was shot and killed in our driveway. In the nightmare, I wake up to go to school and when I let our dog out, my father lays face down on the concrete driveway, covered in blood. I run outside to see if he’s okay. I stand over his bloody body and say softly, ‘Dad, Daddy?’”

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“When he doesn’t answer, I try to jump over his body to get help, but while I’m in the air, his arm comes up quickly and he grabs my ankle. I look at his face. He looks very angry at me, but his mouth forms what could only be recognized as his sarcastic smirk. The same smirk I remembered he gave me when I found my sister sleeping in his bed. Then I wake up.”

Pierson has said she decided to kill her father when he allegedly threatened to begin raping her sister JoAnn, who was just 8 years old at the time.

After the murder, her extended family turned their backs on Pierson and refused to believe that her father would commit such unspeakable abuse.

While out in bail before her trial, she contemplated suicide rather than face her angry loved ones.

“I considered just ending my life instead of going to jail,” she admits.

Now, Pierson is married to her high school sweetheart, Rob Cuccio, and the mother of two girls in suburban New York.

“I have been able to stand up for myself and my family in times of crisis,” she writes. “I have become the mother that I have always dreamed of.”

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