GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man has been sentenced to federal prison for stalking and threatening his wife for months.
On Monday, 45-year-old Mitchell Pierce of Muskegon was sentenced to 15 years in prison with three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to stalking and being a felon in possession of firearms. The sentence is above the recommended sentencing guidelines, U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said.
“This is one of the worst stalking cases, certainly, that our office has seen in many, many years,” Totten said during a news conference Monday morning.
According to court documents, Pierce was convicted of assaulting his ex-wife with a dangerous weapon in August 2021. A condition of his probationary sentence included a no-contact order with his ex-wife.
In December 2021, Pierce began contacting his ex-wife regularly despite that order, court documents said. He would call, leave voicemails, text, send Facebook messages, FaceTime and more. In the messages, he threatened to hurt and kill his ex-wife as well as her children, friends and family. Court documents said he also threatened to kill himself and sent a live video holding a gun to his head along with photos of firearms and ammunition.
On April 28, 2022, Pierce threatened to kill his ex-wife’s former boyfriend.
Court documents said on May 2 of that year, shots were fired at the house where the former boyfriend lived with his parents. Earlier that morning, Pierce had sent his ex-wife audio recordings of shots being fired along with a video of him driving past her house.
That evening, Pierce’s ex-wife was in a parking lot in Muskegon and noticed Pierce driving a white Jeep following her. When he got out of the vehicle, his ex-wife hit him twice with her minivan and took off, court documents said. Police searched the rental Jeep and found a loaded pistol, two rifles, five 9 mm magazines, two .22-caliber magazines, ammunition and a ballistic vest.
Pierce had emailed his ex-wife in April 2022 saying he had gotten body armor and guns ready and threatened to torture her for approximately 18 hours, explaining exactly how he would torture her before she would be beheaded on her birthday.
During this time, Pierce’s former divorce and criminal defense attorneys also filed a complaint with police about a threatening email he had sent them. Court documents said his parents, the mother of his son and others also sent in complaints about threats.
Pierce has previous convictions related to offenses against women, violence and weapons including cutting his ex-wife’s telephone line in 2010, multiple felonious assaults and aggravated stalking. Court documents said he has had several probation violations.
In his ex-wife’s victim statement, she said that he has previously made threats to “kill/injure law enforcement, his probation officer, attorneys, their children and to conduct a school shooting.”
“The message I want women to hear today is that they should feel empowered to speak up,” Alexis Sanford, the lead federal prosecutor for the case, said. “Law enforcement will listen and believe you and help you. Prosecutors will listen and believe you and support you. And when it feels hopeless, there is a way through this. There is hope. There is a life on the other side.”
Anyone who is experiencing domestic violence is encouraged to contact the National Domestic Violent Hotline at 1.800.799.7233.