Evesham man sentenced to 34 years for killing friend and his dog

A 27-year-old man has been sentenced to 34 years in state prison for fatally stabbing a friend, as well as his dog, while robbing him in early 2022, officials say. 

Donovan G. Hollingsworth, 27 was convicted by a jury in August. 

After deliberating for just over an hour, the panel returned guilty verdicts on charges of Murder (First Degree), Robbery (First Degree), Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Third Degree), Cruelty to Animals (Third Degree) and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Fourth Degree).

A judge ruled Friday that Hollingsworth must serve 30 years in prison with no parole eligibility for the murder, then serve an additional four years for killing the dog.

An investigation began February 5, 2022 when officers from the Evesham Township Police Department were called to the Olympus Apartments on Baker Boulevard for a report of a possible dog attack on a resident. 

Upon arrival, they discovered Thomas Pierson III, 26, of Evesham, deceased inside his home with multiple stab wounds.

The victim’s dog, a Cane Corso named Django, was also found dead with stab wounds on a stairwell landing. 

The investigation revealed that Hollingsworth traveled to Pierson’s apartment with the intention of robbing him. 

An altercation ensued, during which Hollingsworth stabbed Pierson and Django. 

Hollingsworth fled and was later taken into custody by Evesham Township police officers at the emergency room of Virtua Voorhees Hospital, where he had gone for treatment of minor injuries.