Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Son Joshua Pearce: Mesa Police Won't File Charges in Child-Abuse Allegation

State Senate President-elect Russell Pearce's son Joshua Trent Pearce recently was under investigation by the Mesa Police Department for allegations of possible child abuse.

Mesa PD spokesman, Sergeant Ed Wessing, confirmed that police responded to a call December 10 from Banner Desert Medical Center regarding a nine day-old baby girl, the daughter of Joshua Pearce and his wife Samantha.

According to Wessing, hospital staff told police that the child had a skull fracture, and that the parents' explanation of how the fracture may have occurred did not jibe with the severity of the injury.

The Mesa PD opened an inquiry into the matter. The child since has been released from the hospital, and her prognosis for a full recovery "is positive" according to Wessing.

Late yesterday, Wessing said the child had been in Joshua Pearce's care at the time, and that Mesa cops had spoken with both Josh and his wife about the incident.

Today, Wessing informed me that no charges would be forthcoming.

"The Mesa Police Department will not be submitting criminal charges in this case," Wessing told me via e-mail. "At this time we do not have sufficient probable cause to charge Mr. Pearce in this case."

Wessing said Child Protective Services had been notified and was involved in the matter.

I called Samantha Pearce for a comment, but she declined to comment. I was not able to talk with Josh Pearce. Phone calls and e-mails to state Senator Russell Pearce have not been returned.

This is not Josh Pearce's first brush with the law. In 2006, he was arrested by the Mesa PD for a DUI, while driving on a suspended license. He told police that he was a regular user of marijuana, but that he no longer drank alcohol because of a previous DUI.

In the car with him was Samantha and their then-five-day-old child Wyatt. Josh Pearce had been driving slow and swerving. During field-sobriety tests, officers noted several signs of impairment. Pearce's eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred, according to the report. The odor of marijuana on his breath was noted.

At first, Josh told police that he had last smoked pot two days before, but under further questioning, he admitted to more regular use.

"He then told me that, `I always wake and bake,'" reads a Mesa PD supplemental report by one of the officers on the scene. "I asked him what that meant and he told me that when he wakes up in the morning that he smokes marijuana. Joshua told me that it helps him relax and loosens up his muscles. He told me that he smoked marijuana at ten this morning."

Josh Pearce also told officers that he took Xanax for panic attacks. He later tested positive for THC, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone.

His job was listed as "roofer." Court documents described his last known address as 1247 East Inca Street in Mesa, the same listed on state Senator Russell Pearce's campaign finance reports with the Arizona Secretary of State.

Wessing stated that Josh Pearce now has a different Mesa address on file.

In 2007, the County Attorney's Office hit Josh Pearce with two felony counts of aggravated DUI. Josh pleaded guilty to one count in a deal with prosecutors and received five years' probation.

Russell Pearce himself is no stranger to allegations of domestic abuse. In 2008, I revealed the existence of a marriage-dissolution petition filed by Pearce's wife, LuAnne, in 1980, which alleged physical abuse at the hands of her husband.

It reads in part, "Further, the husband, RUSSELL KEITH PEARCE, is possessed of a violent temper, and has from time to time hit and shoved the wife, the last time being on February 3 [1980], when he grabbed the wife by the throat and threw her down."

The Pearces ultimately reconciled and remain married. When I asked her about it in 2008, LuAnne Pearce denied that her husband had ever abused or threatened her, and she said that she had never made the statements that were in the court document.

Josh Pearce was born in November 1980, about nine months following the document's filing.

Also in 2008, I blogged about a 1974 police report that stated Pearce, then a young sheriff's deputy, busted down the door of his first wife Karen's place. Karen and Russell were divorced the same year. No charges were ever filed in that incident.

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