Murder charges involving dog-related fatalities


In addition to the killing of Pamela Devitt last year in the Antelope Valley, a handful of dog-related fatalities nationwide have resulted in murder charges. Alex Jackson has been charged in the death of Devitt. Here are the others:


Michael Berry, Morgan Hill, Calif.

Owner of a pit bull terrier that killed 2-year-old James Soto, who wandered into its yard. Authorities said the dog was protecting a patch of marijuana. Found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.



Jeffrey Mann, Cleveland

Accused of ordering his pit bull to attack his live-in girlfriend at their home. Experts said the bite wounds on Angela Kaplan showed evidence of reluctance and a response to repeated commands. Convicted of second-degree murder.


Araceli Garcia, Pomona

Mother of two whose newborn son was mauled by pit bulls after she tossed him over a fence into a neighbor’s backyard. The baby suffered three separate skull fractures and a puncture wound to the heart. Convicted of second-degree murder.


Sabine Davidson, Milford, Kan.

Owner of three Rottweiler dogs who killed 11-year-old Christopher Wilson as he waited for a school bus. Convicted of unintentional second-degree murder.



James Chiavetta, Barstow, Calif.

Caretaker who unchained a 100-pound pit bull he was paid to care for, leading to the fatal mauling of 10-year-old Cash Carson. Convicted of involuntary manslaughter.


Marjorie Knoller, San Francisco

Attorney who was returning to her apartment when her Presa Canario dogs got loose and mauled neighbor Diane Whipple. Convicted of second-degree murder. A judge reduced her conviction to manslaughter, but another court later reinstated the murder conviction. Her husband, Robert Noel, was not present during the attack and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.


James Martin and Heather Frango, Whaleyville, Va.

Parents of 2-year-old Jonathan Martin, who was bitten dozens of times by pit bulls guarding their marijuana plants. Pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child abuse or neglect.



Valbona Lucaj and Sebastiano Quagliata, Metamora Township, Mich.

Couple whose Cane Corso dogs mauled Craig Sytsma to death during his jog on the road near their home. Charged with second-degree murder. The case is pending.

Sources: National Canine Research Council and news reports.