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Posted on Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

Accused duckling killer Dillon Pearce pleads guilty to charges

By Heidi Fenton

A 19-year-old hockey player accused of using a Hummer to run over four ducklings in a McDonald’s parking lot is settling his case without a trial.

Dillon Pearce pleaded guilty last week in Washtenaw County Trial Court to charges of killing or torturing an animal and using marijuana. He will be sentenced Sept. 7.

According to a police report of the April 25 incident, Pearce and two passengers stopped at the drive-thru of the McDonald’s restaurant at 2625 Plymouth Road, where Pearce initially came to pick up food around 6:15 p.m. He drove into an adjacent parking lot for about 15 minutes to eat.

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Dillon Pearce

Debra Bell, the restaurant’s manager, told police a customer called earlier to tell her a nest of ducklings was near the drive-thru. Concerned the young birds could be hit by a car, Bell and a shift leader moved the nest behind a Dumpster on the building’s west side.

Bell saw Pearce and the Hummer in a nearby parking lot as she moved the nest and said the men inside were watching her.

Bell said she looked on as the Hummer pulled out and turned back into the McDonald’s lot, where Pearce ran over four ducklings as the other men inside laughed.

Those birds were found dead at the northwest entrance of the property and Pearce was arrested at a nearby gas station. A small medicine bottle containing marijuana was found in the Hummer’s center console. (Watch video footage of Pearce’s arrest here).

Pearce, who has been trying to launch his hockey career while dealing with the court system, asked a judge in June for permission to move out of the country to pursue his career internationally. That request was denied, but court documents show Pearce was granted permission to travel to a tournament in Boston from July 27-Aug. 1.

His parents were to accompany him on the trip, documents show.

Heidi Fenton covers police and courts for Reach her at or 734-623-4673. You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 4:44 a.m.

Ok, so this guy is a jerk for killing the ducklings. But all of these over-the-top suggestions that he's is on his way to becoming a serial killer are ridiculous. Obviously, he was being a typical 19 year old jerk jock and showing off to his friends by killing the ducklings with his big truck. He wasn't secretly keeping them in a cage in his basement, torturing them, and keeping the body parts in his refrigerator. I mean really, are some of you that unrealistic? He deserves a monster fine ($5000) plus community service at the animal shelter. He'll probably regret this in 10 years regardless of the punishment. I mean really, this "kid" is a 19 year old punk that needs to grow up. He's not a serial killer. Are you all really telling me you've never done anything that was idiotic, spur of the moment, and altogether stupid as a teenager? I know I have. Something you look back on now and say, what was I thinking? I know I have. Now, I never killed anything like this guy, but I did some stupid stuff as a teenager. Would you want your life ruined over something stupid you did as a 19 year old?


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 2:01 a.m.

Must remember, ( He didn't do this) I can't imagine any hockey team wanting him. Like said earlier, his mug shot says it all. (a liar) On the lighter side, if any hockey team needs a super hockey player, I can give them a name of one. Plus, he works at HVHS!


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

"court documents show Pearce was granted permission to travel to a tournament in Boston from July 27-Aug. 1" who is allowing this sadistic individual to travel and play in a hockey tournament? why reward him with something he clearly does not deserve? disgusting.

Chase Ingersoll

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 10:15 p.m.

Can you imagine the razzing this guy is going to receive from other players and fans. Just think, if he makes the NHL at some point he would be in Anaheim to play.....The Ducks. FYI: I had pet ducks. They are very sweet animals. Very social birds. Very emotional about each other.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 11:06 p.m.

Like chicken.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

How do they taste?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

"Accused duckling killer" S/B "Confessed duckling killer", really you don't want to offend the rich folk do you?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

I'm going to put that mug shot on a tee shirt :)


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

I think that mug shot says it all.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

I swear I posted before I read your comment ;)

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

I hope, by making this plea, that he does realize that what he did was wrong. Hopefully, this will be a life-changing, eye-opening experience for him. I really hope, in the end, he comes out of this a better, more compassionate person. He's still very young and has a lot of maturing to do. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for him.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 11:06 p.m.

Yep, just like the last time.....

John B.

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Agreed, senora. However, I'd bet real money that he will do precisely zero jail time. His dysfunctional folks just bought him out of trouble (again), I fear.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Just like Dahmer and Bundy started out............ small working their way up to humans. And PLUS if he was to become an professional hockey player Oh good lord, that could be bad very bad lots of them get away with all types of crime......... and murder is in there to


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 4:35 a.m.

This is completely over the top. He did a typical teenager thing probably to show off to his friends. He wasn't storing dead animals in his basement refrigerator.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

the people commenting that seem to think all he deserves is a "slap on the wrist" fail to realize that he has indeed received said punishment in the past and it obviously has had no effect on him whatsoever. his past involvement with lawbreaking has been settled with fines and probation - fines that his parents paid with no hesitance and probation that he broke all the time. he simply isn't learning and regardless of the fact that he has been the victim of a huge media storm, what he did was wrong and somewhat sickening. I always knew he was a jerk and didn't like him (I actually knew him personally), but he took it to the next level and I do believe that he may have underlying sociopathic issues and/or tendencies. he needs jail time to realize that he can't keep getting away with everything and therapy to help him salvage a future. and by the way, he's not even that good at hockey.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 10:20 p.m.

How do you know he is "...not that good at hockey"?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

Best comment I've read so far!


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

Why the reference to hockey player??? What does that have to do with anything? The young man committed a horrible act no doubt - but don't pull hockey into it!


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 10:19 p.m.

How about " unemployed teenager...." ?

Jeff Gaynor

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

Perhaps the journalists couldn't find any other way to identify him. A student? No. Employed? No. The article didn't generalize about hockey players.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

Have we lost sight of the real issue here? There seems to be more comments about the headline than the issue at stake. But as long as that seems to be the theme today, I will weigh in, too, and say, good job,! Eye-catching headline and there is nothing wrong with it. You're journalists. That's what you're supposed to do. Come up with headlines that make us want to read the article (and 60+ comments). Now let's look at the facts in this very simple headline: he was accused, accused of being a duckling killer (and there was indeed the evidence of dead duckling where he had been driving), his name is Dillon Pearce, and he plead guilty. All factual at this juncture. Seriously, what's wrong with this simple and factual headline?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

If it bleeds it leads! What a headline! Really? "...duckling killer..."?

zip the cat

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

C'mon people get real ,While I would love to see him do tons of jail time and years of community work. He'll be lucky to to get anything more than a minior slap on the wrist sentence WOW,can't believe all the calls for his head on a silver platter.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

As laughable as many of the titles for stories are on this site, Heidi Fenton's are consistently the worst.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

How many of us have killed innocent mosquitoes, flies, rodents, even fleas?? And how many of us now in adulthood have done things we look back on and wish we hadn't and are glad we never got caught? Didn't Barton hills hire a sharpshooter to get rid of the extra deer in Barton a few years back? And aren't several communities looking for ways to reduce the goose populations along their rivers? If this were my son, and I'm glad he isn't, I would handle this by giving him community service jobs and limiting his use of my vehicle, along with counseling. Maybe I don't see the giant deal people are making out of this and projecting what a bad future this kid will have, but also I think it was really dumb to put the ducklings out by the dumpster where they could be run over, knowing full well the kids were watching, she puts the ducks in harms way, where is her punishment, huh?


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

This is the first sensible comment on this entire thread. I think killing the ducklings was completely wrong. However, being the devil's advocate that I am, the only thing defining a pest is your opinion. To some people killing a fly is a sin, to some of us it is justified. A duck could be considered a pest to some people.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:33 p.m.

Killing a household pest is a whole different thing then killing infant animals that are not even in our home or causing anyone discomfort. Furthermore, sharpshooting the deer was done to protect the deer and people from running into them. I would say shooting the deer and processing the meat is a much more humane way of dealing with the pest than letting them get run over and get a wrecked vehicle, the great possibility of a hurt or killed driver and possibly passenger. Along with a mangled deer carcass that rots at the side of the road doing nobody but the crows any good. But I do agree that the MDs worker should have left the animals alone and probably done something more productive to helping the animals than moving them over by a dumpster. Especially when she seen the punks in the Hummer watching her not knowing what their intentions were. There are people out there that take in wild animals and relocate or nurse them back to health and release them in a better area.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

Finally, a common sense post.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 10:49 a.m.

Again, I care less about retribution on the ducklings behalf and more about the repeated dangerous behavior and his attitude toward others in this society especially those authority figures he clearly refuses to acknowledge. . It is my hope that , with the record he has, he gets a sentence according to the guidelines and that he takes whatever time he needs to get treatment, yes - I said treatment - for his 'issues'. Certainly the rest of the people here will dog him if he steps out of line here again.

Jeff Gaynor

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

I agree completely with lorie's first two paragraphs. (If only jail time did more than satisfy our simplistic impulses.) Unfortunately, as to the third, I don't think he much cares about the "rest of the people here."


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 9:17 a.m.

Waste of time. We have a serial rapist running around town and this community cares about ducks?????? Let this kid go and start worrying about real problems.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

Lets stop worrying about theft, we have rapes to worry about. Lets stop worrying about rapes since we have murders to worry about. That is ridiculous logic on your part. I guess in your world if you get pulled over for speeding you tell the cop he should go catch a rapist. A drunk driver isnt a big deal, since it isnt a big enough crime for you.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

aawolve is on the money. It has been well documented for decades that sociopathic tendencies--which may appear later in life in actions such as rape, theft and fraud, and murder--frequently appear first as cruelty to animals. The common thread is lack of empathy, a trait shared by all serial rapists and killers. This kid IS a real problem, and I hope that he is sentenced as a real problem.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

That is a very simple way of seeing it. What sort of things do you think the rapist was up to when he was young Dillon's age? Probably something similar.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 5:17 a.m.

Been reading all these comments and all I can say is ????


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:37 a.m.

Will the mother of the ducklings be allowed to make a Victim Impact Statement at sentencing?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:19 a.m.

So what are his supporters and defenders saying now? It's clear he knew he was busted with enough evidence to convict him in trial and decided to finally admit his guilt. I hope for a long sentence to send a message, just like in the Vick case! It's sickening.

Smart Logic

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 2:25 a.m.

People that hurt or kill animals for fun are just plain sick. Doing the same to younger, even more defenseless animals earns you a special place in hell. Hopefully this offense follows him around for the rest of his paltry, unproductive existence.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 2:08 a.m.

So he admits to killing ducks and using marijuana. And which hockey team is this desperate for players?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

he would be a killer on ice for the Ducks...


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:31 a.m.

Definitely not the Anaheim Ducks.

Smart Logic

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

Columbus Blue Jackets?

Chris 8 - YPSI PRIDE

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:23 a.m.

(Posted: Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.) I want to know who was paid off to hold back this story until "after" his plane landed today. He was granted permission to leave the state after he plead guilty to attend a hockey tournament? There was obviously a deal struck granting him no jail time if this was allowed. Otherwise he should have been remanded to the jail without bond until sentencing. This of a stinks to high heavens of a bribe somewhere to me. The FEDS should be investigating how this was allowed.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 5 p.m.

Love your sarcasm hehe


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:31 a.m.

A bribe? Seriously? Dude, I think you watch too much TV.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:09 a.m.

Heidi, do you personally know this kid or are you in love with him? Sad to see you spending valuable time reporting this nonsense.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:27 a.m.

You don't think the ongoing coverage by has anything to do with the fact that this whole sequence of stories has generated close to 500 comments (possibly more), do you?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:22 a.m.

He'll probably get HYTA and if he does the terms of his sentence this whole thing will be a distant memory.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:45 a.m.

I think that too Catherine but a sudden plea deal after saying not guilty for the last couple months, there had to be something good in that deal.

Catherine Hammer

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

I hope not, since this isn't his first dealing with the court system.

Harry Callahan

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

Typically when a person pleads guilty he has to tell the court what s/he did. When you plead no contest no statement is made. I wonder what he said, if he admitted he did this on purpose, after stating previously he did not.


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 11:58 p.m.

Ok all you Pearce defenders. We will wait for you to start whining. He is now CONVICTED of these crimes. I will no longer use the word allegedly. He is an animal killer, which many mental health professionals would say is the start of sociopathic tendencies.


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

How about this headline "Accused Teen Concedes and Pleads Guilty to Deliberately Driving Over Ducklings " Why is the story being printed one week late? Did Pearce's attorney, Mr. Nacht change his mind on the baloney quote he gave to media and advise his client to settle or does he have a different attorney? What happened?


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 11:43 p.m.

The Mail Online in April wrote this inflammatory headline about Pearce, but it is actually better than calling Pearce a &quot;duckling killer&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> 'World's biggest jerk' accused over deliberately running over four ducklings with a HUMMER By DAILY MAIL REPORTER Last updated at 12:24 PM on 28th April 2011 &quot;A college student has been dubbed the world's biggest jerk after he allegedly ran over and killed four ducklings with his Hummer. Pearce has been charged with then deliberately driving the 6000lb vehicle back into the McDonald's car park and into the flock, crushing four ducklings. 'It's just absolute baloney that they intended to run these ducks over,' Pearce's lawyer, David Nacht, said, calling the situation 'a complete accident.' 'It's nonsense,' he said. 'The notion that this was an intentional act is ridiculous. My client's a normal guy from a good family. He cares about animals.'


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

A 2008 H3 weighs about 4700 lbs, I stand corrected.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:02 a.m.

Treetowncartel, most cars weigh 2000 to 3000 lb. An H2 weighs over 4 tons. The H3 weighs just under 5000 lb. Not that it really matters, those ducks didn't stand a chance no matter what he was driving. I hope the sentence fits the crime and that he learns a few lessons.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:05 a.m.

I don't think a hummmer is nearly three tons, probably 2500 at best


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

Gotta love it: this is a normal guy from a good family who loves animals. Ha. Pearce is a punk who finds it funny to intentionally kill innocent animals with a 6000 lb vehicle. Maybe he should be the target of a Hummer coming at him in a McDonald's parking lot while he tries to outrun it.


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

Please change this silly headline: &quot;Accused duckling killer Dillon Pearce pleads guilty to charges&quot; What is the copy editing or proofreading process is at for headlines before they are published?


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

In regards to the headline I plead ignorance.

Elaine F. Owsley

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 10:47 a.m.

Pleaded is U.S., plead is British. The Brits version has a better read.

Catherine Hammer

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

I typed &quot;pled&quot; and the auto correct keeps saying the spelling is wrong.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.


Catherine Hammer

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

In my opinion, the headline is perfect. He IS an accused duckling killer, and he plead (pleaded?) guilty.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:06 a.m.

@A2Citizen --I am Sorry about the typo. I should have read it more carefully. But I am a commenter and the reporter and are part of a news organization, so I am holding them to a higher standard. I think the headline is bad. I would not have posted a comment about an extra word or small typo.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:01 a.m.

Speaking of used &quot;is&quot; twice in the same sentence. What is your process?


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

Let's hope he doesn't get a slap on the wrist, like so many other punks receive in this area. Teach this thug a lesson. All the signs are there for more crimes later in life: drug use; aggressive, impulsive behavior; finding it funny to intentionally kill innocent animals; driving a behemoth, military style vehicle at age 19. He'll be the perfect hockey player someday, aggressive and brutal. Throw the book at him or society will be paying to incarcerate this guy later on for much more serious crimes. Probation doesn't cut it. He needs to serve serious time in jail. He wants to leave the country? Absolutely. As long as he can't come back to the US to wreak more havoc.


Wed, Aug 3, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

Sally how much jail time do you believe he should get?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

Really? Do you think that jail time will translate into a more productive future member of society? Seems to me that a slap on the wrist is more than appropriate here. If our prisons had a better rehabilitation record, that would be one thing but even then, this guy killed some ducklings. I don't like that and think he should get some kind of community service sentence to be served at the Humane Society. But his crime isn't all that different from say deciding to eat a bird that someone else slaughtered with some other tool besides a Hummer.

Kirk Scott

Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

I thought he was going to fight the charges. What happened? Did he qack under the pressure?

Smart Logic

Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

Would have been better if you spelled &quot;quack&quot; correctly.


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

Embarrassingly bad headline.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:08 p.m. is not known for its writing. This is the Barney of online newspapers... If you're happy and you know it, shake you're head...


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

kill his dreams just like he did to the ducks


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 4:37 a.m.

The ducks had dreams?


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

Now I guess he would be &quot;convicted duckling killer&quot;, no? So, shockingly, he WASN'T trying to help them? And this after he lawyer said he was? What's a girl to think any more?


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

The public should submit letters to the office of Prosecutor Brian Mackie to let him know that his assistant should take a hard line at sentencing and request a substantial term of incarceration in the county jail with a rigorous probationay period once Pearce is released. Simple non-reporting probation with community service does not cut it here.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

now roadman...since you have repeatedly dissed prosecutor mackie as too hardnosed ( on your extremist friends) isn't this request of him a little , oh i dunno....hypocritical.?? Of course i happen to agree that duckboy should be given the max...and indeed regret that stocks/ public pillories are out of fashion in this instance ..(.and i'd also happily see some of those you cheer for in them too..)


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 1:39 a.m.

Seriously?? Killing the ducklings was wrong, no doubt, but there are &quot;real&quot; criminals out there that need to take up the jail space. This deserves an extremely hefty fine and possibly probation. Jail time is absurd.

Jack Gladney

Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 12:02 a.m.

I don't know this fine citizen, but the bad ones always start with small animals. (I also agree that the wording of the headline is awkward at best)


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:15 p.m.

Confession is good for the soul. A public confession is even more effective.


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

Hopefully the court will allow him to move out of the country now.


Tue, Aug 2, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

Seriously! Let some other country deal with his agressive behavior!


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

&quot;Accused duckling killer&quot;?! I'm sorry for the loss of these innocent animals...but. I gotta say, You're on a roll today!