ANN ARBOR, Mich. -

A 19-year-old Michigan man who police said killed four duckling on purpose by running them over has pleaded guilty to an animal cruelty charge.

Ann Arbor police said Dillon Pearce purposely hit the ducklings on April 25 with a Hummer at a McDonald's parking lot.

Pearce also pleaded guilty to using marijuana. He is set to be sentenced Sept. 7.

Pearce's attorney, David Nacht, had said Pearce ran the ducks over by accident, and that killing the ducks was equivalent to killing a deer that runs out in front of a vehicle.

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"I don't want us to become a state where we start prosecuting road kill," Nacht said.

Nacht said Pearce had receiving hate mail, calling him a "baby duck killer."

"It's disturbing that people, first of all, don't let the court system work its way out before deciding if someone did something or not," Nacht said.

Police and McDonald's employees said he purposely drove around the parking lot to run over the birds.

The animal cruelty charge is a felony that carries a maximum punishment of four years in prison.

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