Dog owner to face Murder Trial in Detroit boy's Death
DETROIT -- A man whose dogs dragged and killed a four-year-old Detroit boy as he walked with his mother has been ordered to trial on a second-degree murder charge.
A judge said Thursday there's enough evidence to send Geneke Lyons to trial on the murder charge, manslaughter and possessing a dangerous animal causing death.
Xavier Strickland was walking with his mother when they were attacked by pit bulls on Dec. 2. Police had to shoot the dogs to free the boy's body. Three were killed; a fourth was euthanized.
"One of (the dogs) grabbed the baby from her and drug the baby under the fence," witness Yolanda Samuels told CBS affiliate WWJ. "The dogs started mauling on the baby, and when we came out -- we were getting ready to go somewhere -- she said, 'Miss Lala, they've got my baby!'"
Xavier's father, Clarence Strickland, said in December he wants to see justice.
"The pain I feel, I want him to feel the same way. But he wouldn't ever because it wasn't his child, so he ain't gonna feel the way I feel in my heart," he told WWJ. "His 4-year-old boy didn't get chewed up by dogs, so he ain't gonna feel my pain."
Lyons wasn't at the home at the time. The evidence included video of the attack recorded by a security camera. Lyons' attorney argued that he had no notice that the dogs were a problem in the neighborhood.
Detroit's city council voted Tuesday to toughen the city's laws on vicious dogs, in response to Xavier's death, WWJ reported.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement after the attack that it was "a gross understatement to say that this case is harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership" and that "these dogs saw this child as meal," WWJ reported in December.
Xavier's parents have filed a civil lawsuit against Lyons in Wayne County Circuit Court. They claim the dogs were a known danger in the neighborhood, but Lyons failed to keep the community safe from them, according to WWJ.
"We get calls every day at our office about injuries caused by dogs with dangerous owners," attorney Mark Bernstein told the station. "But this affects our region more profoundly -- it's the death of a child."