Dog owner guilty of murder in 2013 mauling of woman in Antelope Valley

Dog owner guilty of murder in 2013 mauling of woman in Antelope Valley
Defendant Alex Donald Jackson, being tried after his four pit bulls killed a woman, listens to the proceedings in his murder trial at Los Angeles County Superior Court in Lancaster. On Friday he was convicted on second-degree murder. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

A dog owner was convicted Friday of second-degree murder in the mauling death last year of a woman who was attacked by four pit bills in the Antelope Valley town of Littlerock.

Prosecutors argued that Alex Jackson, 31, deserved to be found guilty of murder because he knew his dogs were dangerous before the May 2013 attack.


Four of Jackson's pit bulls mauled Pamela Devitt, 63, as she was out for a morning walk, tearing into her body, limbs and head.

Jurors were told that nearly all of Devitt's hair was gone and her skull was exposed in the attack. An autopsy determined she suffered up to 200 puncture wounds. Patches of her skin were missing and in some places wounds were so deep they exposed bone.

Coroner's officials determined Devitt died from blood loss in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

A prosecutor argued that Jackson's dogs were involved in at least seven other altercations in the 18 months leading up to the attack on Devitt.

Taking the stand in his defense this week, Jackson said he was unaware of most of the incidents. If he had known what his dogs were capable of, he said, he would've gotten rid of them.

"I feel terrible about it. This isn't anything that I orchestrated or planned, that I wanted to have happen," he said.

He described the dogs as playful and friendly, even with strangers.

"They have a loving side to them," he said.

There are about 75 million dogs in the United States, and fatal attacks are rare. The National Canine Research Council estimates about 30 people are killed by dogs each year. Subsequent murder charges are even more of an aberration. In the last two decades or so, a handful of such cases have made headlines across the country.

A Los Angeles County court official said Jackson was also found guilty of cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and possession of a controlled substance. He was acquitted of an assault with a deadly weapon charge.

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