The fallout from a horrific pit bull attack, which involved four dogs mauling a 63-year-old woman to death, has concluded with a 15-year to life sentence being handed down to the owner of the dogs.
Alex Jackson, 31, was found guilty last month for the death of Pamela Devitt, who was out for a morning walk when Jackson's pit bulls jumped over a fence and attacked her, reports CBS News.
The pit bull attack took place in Littlerock, a small town near Palmdale in Southern California's inland high desert region.
Ms. Devitt was taken by surprise while all by herself, with no one else around, and when help finally did arrive, the gang of pit bulls had already done irreparable damage to their helpless victim.
Injuries sustained by Ms. Devitt included 150 to 200 bites spread over her whole body. One arm was severed and, according to the Los Angeles Times, patches of Devitt's skin were missing. The bites were so deep that bone was exposed, and nearly all of Ms. Devitt's hair had been torn out, leaving her skull exposed. Loss of blood was the cause of Devitt's death.
The murder charge against Jackson stemmed not just from his dogs attacking, but also because Jackson was using the pit bulls as guard dogs for his pot growing operation and knew they were very dangerous.
Prosecutors said complaints about Jackson from neighbors and others stated that the pit bulls were vicious and dangerous were ignored.
"His actions in this case show that he has a nearly psychopathic disregard for the lives and well-being of others," said Deputy District Attorney Ryan Williams in his sentencing memo.
Several witnesses, including a postal worker and a number of horse riders, testified about at least seven terrifying encounters with the pit bulls. One of the horse riders even offered to help Jackson build effective fencing to keep the dogs corralled. But again, Jackson disregarded the outreach, and left the put bulls to do whatever they wanted.
Jackson's defense lawyer, Al Kim, said his client's disregard of the previous incidents and the danger his pit bulls posed were the "nail in the coffin."
While Kim recognized during the trial that Jackson was a drug dealer, he also tried to paint Jackson as a dog lover with a soft spot for strays. Kim also conceded that Jackson probably could have kept a better eye on his pit bulls, but he never intended to hurt anyone.
"He's not the evil dude he's being made out to be," Kim said. "He feels horrible about this. He's contrite."
The law sees it differently, however, leaving little room for blatantly irresponsible vicious dog owners to shrug off responsibility if their dogs attack and kill someone. The reasoning is that the accused, such as Jackson, knew their dogs were dangerous enough to kill, and did nothing about it. This recklessly left the dangerous possibilities to be absorbed by victims.
Other current cases of dog owners facing murder charges include a Michigan couple whose two cane corso dogs killed a jogger in July.
[Image Credit: Los Angeles Times]