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New Jersey Man, Guard Dog Stabbed To Death By Childhood Friend Over Marijuana

Thomas Pierson III, 26, was fatally stabbed by a childhood friend following a violent argument over “obtaining marijuana,” police said.

By Dorian Geiger
Thomas Pierson Iii Fb

A New Jersey man is accused of fatally stabbing an aspiring writer and solar energy salesman, as well as the young man’s guard dog, following a drug-related dispute.

Donovan G. Hollingsworth, 25, is jailed on a trio of charges related to the death of Thomas Pierson III, who was killed early Saturday morning, according to police. 

Hollingsworth has been charged with first-degree murder and two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.

On Feb. 5, police were dispatched to an apartment complex in Evesham Township shortly after 9 a.m. after receiving reports of a “dog bite” and possible canine attack, according to a probable cause statement reviewed by Oxygen.com.

Upon arrival, investigators found Pierson lying in a large pool of blood near his dog, Django. The 26-year-old and his King Corso dog had been stabbed multiple times. They were both pronounced dead on scene. Blood stains were also found throughout the apartment.

According to charging documents, an upstairs neighbor told authorities he’d heard “commotion and banging” shortly before the deadly knife attack.

Hollingsworth, who fled the scene, was arrested at Virtua Voorhees Hospital after seeking medical care for minor injuries related to the incident. He suffered a wound to his hand and also sustained a visible black eye, detectives said. 

Donovan Hollingsworth Pd

The accused 25-year-old’s father told authorities Hollingsworth and Pierson were close childhood friends who “routinely” socialized. His father divulged to investigators he’d lent his Dodge Ram pickup truck to his son to visit Pierson’s apartment on the morning of the apparent slaying.

Hollingsworth allegedly called his father following the attack and confessed to stabbing Pierson after getting into a physical confrontation over “obtaining marijuana,” according to detectives. During the phone call Hollingsworth claimed Pierson’s dog bit him in the hip.

“His son advised the victim was striking him in the head and, at one point, got on top of him,” the probable cause statement further alleged. “Additionally, his son reported the victim’s dog began attacking him too. His son stated he grabbed a knife and stabbed the dog and the victim and left.” 

The unidentified New Jersey father described his son’s demeanor on the call as “scared” and “manic.”

Pierson, a politically-minded social media entrepreneur, was a solar energy salesman and had previously published a book on New Jersey’s solar industry. He was originally from Medford Lakes, New Jersey, his Facebook profile states. Pierson graduated from Cherry Hill West High School in 2013.

The 26-year-old had adopted his dog Django in September 2020. Police said the bulky mastiff weighed more than 100 pounds.

“Meet Django my new Guard dog,” Pierson wrote on Facebook at the time. “He will be enforcing my no pest policy.”

Hollingsworth is being held without bail at a Burlington County Detention Center in Mount Holly, New Jersey. He has a virtual court detention hearing set for Feb. 9 in Burlington County Superior Court, jail officials confirmed. It’s unclear if he’s retained legal representation.

Joel Bewley, a public information officer for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment further on the open case on Tuesday afternoon.

Local police are now urging the public to come forward with additional information related to the incident. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Evesham Township Police Department at 609-983-4699 or via email.

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