Arraignment postponed for man charged with murder in mauling death of woman
Jogger attacked by pit bulls
City News Service | 6/14/2013, 12:31 p.m.
LANCASTER, Calif. — A judge today postponed the arraignment of a Littlerock man charged with murder in the mauling death of a female jogger by a pack of pit bulls allegedly owned by the defendant.
Alex Donald Jackson, 29, remains jailed in lieu of $1.05 million bail.
He is charged with murder, negligent ownership of a mischievous animal causing death or serious bodily injury, cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and possession for sale of a controlled substance.
He also was charged with a count of assault with a deadly weapon stemming from a January confrontation with another person.
Deputy District Attorney Samantha MacDonald said that since January, authorities had received at least three other reports of Jackson’s pit bulls attacking people.
Jackson was arrested the day after the fatal May 9 attack, when sheriff’s deputies searched his home and confiscated eight dogs — six pit bulls and two mixed breeds — according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Marijuana also was allegedly found growing on the property.
Jackson was released on bail May 10 while DNA tests were pending to determine if his dogs were involved in the death of Pamela Devitt, 63.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, Devitt sustained 150 to 200 puncture wounds, and DNA tests confirmed that blood found on four of Jackson’s dogs was determined to be the victim’s.
If convicted, Jackson faces up to life in prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
If the case proceeds to trial, it would be the second case involving a deadly dog mauling to be heard in Los Angeles County.
In what was considered a ground-breaking case that was moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles because of pretrial publicity, Marjorie Knoller — who was an attorney at the time — was convicted in March 2002 of second-degree murder for the dog-mauling death of female lacrosse coach Diane Whipple.
Knoller was present when two Presa Canario dogs — weighing more than 100 pounds each — attacked the 33-year-old woman in the narrow hallway of the apartment building where each lived in the Pacific Heights section of San Francisco.
A judge later granted Knoller a new trial on the murder charge, but the California Supreme Court later sent the case back after finding that the trial court had “used an incorrect test of implied malice, and based its decision in part on an impermissible consideration” in granting the motion for a new trial. Knoller was subsequently sentenced in September 2008 to 15 years to life in state prison.
Knoller’s husband, Robert Noel, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and owning a mischievous dog that kills and was sentenced to four years in state prison.