Dog Pack Murder: Could Alex Donald Jackson Go To Jail For His Pit Bulls’ Vicious Attack?

By Philip Ross on May 31, 2013 12:30 PM EDT

pit bull
A dog pack murder in California could lead to the dog owner, Alex Donald Jackson, being convicted in the vicious killing. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A dog pack attack in California could land the dog owner in jail with a murder conviction. Alex Donald Jackson was arrested Thursday in connection to a vicious dog pack murder earlier this month in which four pit bulls mauled a woman to death in California.

IScience Times reported earlier in May that 63-year-old Pamela Devitt was walking in her neighborhood in Littlerock, Calif., when a pack of pit bulls belonging to 29-year-old Jackson pounced on her and viciously attacked her. A woman passing by in her car saw the dog pack murder Devitt. While she tried to deter the dogs by honking, the dogs didn't let up.

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Devitt, who was bitten 150 to 200 times, died en route to the hospital. The attack angered neighbors, who said that stray dogs, which were frequently seen in the area, were a threat to everyone's safety. One local resident even carried a pistol around to protect her from possible dog attacks.

International Business Times reports that Jackson was charged on Thursday with the murder of Pamela Devitt because his pit bulls mauled the woman to death. Detectives found blood on the dogs' muzzles and coats that matched Devitt's. Animal control removed the pit bulls from Jackson's home, where he was also growing marijuana. Jackson is currently being held on over $1 million bail and is expected to be arraigned today.

According to authorities, Jackson's dogs had attacked at least three times before.  

"We believe there was evidence that he was aware the dogs were vicious and they have attacked before and he knew of the danger they posed," District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison told the Los Angeles Times.

For Jackson to be convicted for the dog pack murder his pit bulls carried out, prosecutors will have to prove that the dog owner knew his dogs were a threat and that he blatantly neglected to do anything to prevent them from attacking someone.

While murder cases concerning deadly dog attacks are extremely uncommon, they're not unheard of. Back in 2001, Marjorie Knoller's dogs attacked and killed her neighbor in the hallway of their San Francisco, Calif., apartment building. Knoller was later convicted of second-degree murder for the vicious dog pack murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, the Chicago Tribune reports.

While her initial punishment, handed down in 2002, was a 4-year prison term, the California Supreme Court later said that the judge who gave Knoller the 4-year sentence was wrong, and sent the case back. Knoller was then re-tried, and given the longer prison sentence.

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Nevada Dog Breed Law: Does New Law Target Pit Bulls?

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