(FiveNation.com)- Last Friday, an Oklahoma City man on trial for second-degree manslaughter in the dog-mauling death of a neighbor was acquitted by a jury after seven hours of deliberation.
Antwon Demetris Burks, 36, faced up to four years in prison for an April 2017 incident in which his two dogs attacked and killed 82-year-old Cecille Short.
Short was walking her Papillion through the neighborhood when she was attacked by two dogs. The dogs killed Short at the scene then dragged her body into a yard. The attack was so vicious, Short was left nearly decapitated.
People who witnessed the attack, along with first responders, had tried to get the dogs away from Short’s body but were unable to. When police arrived at the scene, one officer shot and killed the male dog and a patrol car struck the female dog.
Police were able to trace the dogs back to Burks, who was not in town at the time.
Prosecutors argued that Burks was to blame for the attack because he failed to ensure that his dogs were secured on his property. Assistant District Attorney Kelly Collins called it a “crime of negligence.”
The dogs were able to get off Burks’ property through a hole in the fence surrounding his rental home. The hole was blocked off with an ice chest on one side and a recycling bin filled with bricks on the other.
Prosecutors said, even before April 2017, the dogs regularly broke out of the yard prompting complaints from neighbors.
Burks’ defense argued that the dogs had never been aggressive in the past. They said Burks fixed the fence to the best of his ability, but he was a renter, not the owner of the property.
Some of Burk’s neighbors testified in court that the dogs, Delilah and Ice Cube, were frequently roaming through the neighborhood and were known to be “dangerous,” often acting aggressively toward people and other animals. Just six months before Short’s grisly killing, Burks’ dogs attacked another dog in the neighborhood. Afterward, a flyer was put up in the area encouraging neighbors to call the police if Burks’ animals were spotted.
The defense argued that Burks had no way of knowing that his dogs would attack and kill Cecille Short.
When the verdict was read, a relieved Burks broke down in tears.