A little boy is dead, mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls, and now the dogs’ owner is being charged with murder in connection with the attack.
Xavier Strickland, 4, was killed last week after the dogs escaped their yard, ran after the boy, ripped him from his mother’s arms, and dragged him under a fence. His mother Lucille then said they essentially “ate him.”
The child’s cause of death was from multiple puncture wounds.
The pit bulls’ owner, Geneke Antonio Lyons, 41, has been identified as the Strickland’s neighbor and owner of the four pit bulls who attacked the boy, the Detroit Free Press reported. Three were shot at the scene and a fourth has been put down since.
Xavier’s father, Clarence, welcomes the charges — including second-degree murder, manslaughter, and possessing dangerous animals causing death — and wants even worse.
“Life in jail, no parole, electric chair, I just want him to feel the pain I feel. Feel the pain my son felt when those dogs were eating him up, just feel the pain. My son getting mauled, I never expected it….To snatch a baby from up under his mama, drag him under the fence and eat him like he was dog food or something, it’s terrible. I never expected this.”
The family is also suing Lyons and the owner of his property in civil court, a limited liability cooperation the accused also owns. According to Click On Detroit, Xavier’s parents are seeking damages of $25,000 and for the court to recognize that Lyons and his pit bulls are responsible for their son’s death.
Lucille was also injured while trying to protect her son from the dogs, according to her lawyer, Mark Bernstein.
The horrific mauling happened last week in the Strickland’s neighborhood as Lucille and Xavier walked to the Thurgood Marshall Elementary School nearby, where she volunteers, the Inquisitr previously reported.
The dogs, who’d barked and growled at neighbors many times in the past and, the month before, attacked Xavier’s older sister, escaped the fence through a “significant” gap in the fence, police said. The dogs grabbed the mother’s legs, and she tried to kick them off as they went for her son. At one point, she fell on top of her child to protect him from the attack and was bitten on her ear, leg, and back. It was when she tried to get up that the pit bulls snatched Xavier away.
And she watched in horror as her boy was mauled, which Bernstein said was inside a pen where they were normally held in the yard.
“The evidence dogs saw this child as meal, and we believe that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged actions of the defendant in this case rise to the level of murder in the second degree,” said county Prosecutor Kym Worthy. “It is a gross understatement to say that this case is harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership.”
And Bernstein intends to make an example out of Lyons for all “dog owners who fail to show an acceptable level of responsibility to protect their innocent neighbors.” During his arraignment on Monday, Lyons — who has two previous arrests on his record — pleaded not guilty. The judge ordered him returned to jail with little explanation after hearing arguments by his defense attorney for affordable bond, which wasn’t granted.
“This case should be a wake-up call for our community,” Bernstein said. “We get calls every day at our office about injuries caused by dogs with dangerous owners. But this affects our region more profoundly – it’s the death of a child. It’s time to address this problem in a very serious way.”
As for Lucille, the day her son was mauled to death replays in her mind over and over again.
“As we talk about it I re-live it, as we speak about it, I re-live it. There’s nothing that’s going to change that. Every day is a new day, but it’s going to be there forever. I will never cope with it. Never. I will never deal with it because its going to be there forever, but I’m going to go on and live for my son most definitely. Will I fight for justice? Most definitely. But how do I go on without him? It’s something I can’t even tell you.”
[Photo via YouTube]