Feathered Bastard

Anger in need of management: Russell Pearce's "violent temper" flared with his first wife, too.

Female trouble? A police report involving Pearce's ex-wife raises new questions about his "violent temper."

As I mentioned at the end of this week's Bird column, I recently obtained additional evidence backing up LuAnne Pearce's 1980 contention that her husband, state Rep. Russell Pearce "is possessed of a violent temper." This document, however pertains to the Mesa Republican's first wife Karen, the mother of his children Dodi and Sean. It's a 1974 incident report from the Mesa Police Department describing a situation where Pearce, then a young Sheriff's deputy, is alleged to have broken through a door at his estranged wife's apartment. You can read the entire document, here

In the report, Pearce accused his then wife of supplying beer to a 16-year-old by the name of Dwayne Burden.

"Pearce said that he has known for some time that his wife has been having an affair with and furnishing beer to Burden," reads the report, typed up by an Officer Myers. "He said that tonight he had caught her and he wanted charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor filed against her. He mentioned that this would aid him in getting custody of their children."

Pearce's tawdry complaints aside, this Burden guy was not present at the time of the incident, according to the apartment building manager Angel Romero. Romero said that Pearce had identified himself as a deputy Sheriff, and claimed that he wanted to check on his wife's well being.

"Romero said he told Russell that he did not want to let him in," the report states, "but that Russell said he was Karen's legal husband and that he had a right to go in and check on her."

So Romero accompanied Pearce to the door of Karen's apartment. (They were living in separate residences at this time.) And that's when all hell broke loose. Romero told Mesa police that he unlocked the door, but there was a chain lock on it. Pearce then "hit the door pulling the chain lock screws from the jamb and barged into the apartment." He searched the place, but no one was present save for his wife.

"Romero said that there was no one else in the apartment and that it became clear to him that Russell's only purpose for entering the apartment was to attempt to catch Karen with someone else," wrote Officer Myers. "Romero was upset because Russell had broken the chain lock. Also, a hole had been knocked in the hollow core door and Romero believes Russell did that when he hit the door. Small broken pieces of the door were on the walk directly below the door."

Romero and Pearce argued about the door, with Romero claiming that Pearce busted it up, and Pearce countering that the door's damage was due to the door being "cheap."

It was the sight of Karen's soon-to-be-ex-hubby (the couple's divorce was finalized in September of 1974) crashing through her apartment door that awakened her from dozing. She told the officer she'd been out earlier, and when she returned, friends of hers were in her digs drinking.

"She said she went to bed and went to sleep," according to the report. "She said that she next heard a noise, got up and went into the living room. At this point Russell came crashing through the front door. Karen said there was no one in the apartment other than herself when Russell entered."

Rep. Pearce did not return phone calls to his cell phone and his home asking for comment. Since LuAnne Pearce's 1980 divorce decree has been made public by yours truly, both Pearces have blamed LuAnne's lawyer at the time, E. Evans Farnsworth, now a pro-tem judge in Chandler. (If you haven't seen it, you can peep LuAnne's divorce petition, here.) But in this case, there is no lawyer to blame. Unless Pearce plans to say that the cop, his ex-wife, and the building manager made it all up back then.

Pearce's misuse of his position as a deputy Sheriff and his inability to control himself when presented with a locked door not his own are reprehensible and disturbing. But there's more. Manager Romero told the Mesa cop he wanted Pearce to stay away from the building.

"Romero and his wife complained of Russell spending a great deal of time in the apartment building parking lot," Myers stated in the document. "They said that he comes around the apartments often in his patrol car and parks to try to catch Karen with someone."

Pearce hardly has a sterling record when it comes to domestic violence legislation. For example, in an East Valley Tribune article from 2003, Pearce was outspoken in his opposition to certain aspects of protection orders. Check out this passage from the Trib piece:

State Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said protection orders can be misused and detrimental to families. He said plaintiffs sometimes invite people to violate a protection order, then call the police on the alleged abuser.

"If it's serious enough to throw a man out of his home, then obey it yourself," Pearce said.

Pearce is sponsoring a bill in the House that would require municipalities to prosecute plaintiffs who violate protection orders. It also would require the community to distinguish nonviolent and violent violations of the orders, and the bill requires judges to have a hearing for protection order requests to find proof of domestic violence -- unless there's an emergency.

An emergency. You know, like having your estranged Sheriff's deputy husband hanging out in your parking lot and breaking down your door. As far as I can tell, Pearce's bill never made it out of committee. But hey, it's the thought that counts, right?

Why so passionate about orders of protection, Russ? Why all this hostility towards women using one of the few legal mechanisms available to defend themselves? I think we all know the answer.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons

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