The owner of several pit bulls has been charged with murder, after his dogs fatally mauled a 63-year-old woman. Alex Johnson was arrested Thursday and is also charged with negligent care of his dogs and cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, among other charges. Patrick Healy reports from Littlerock for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on May 30, 2013.
A dog owner arrested Thursday was charged with murder in an attack involving a frenzied pack of dogs that killed a 63-year-old woman who suffered more than 150 puncture wounds in the mauling.
Pamela Devitt was attacked on the morning of May 9 by dogs in on a Littlerock road in the southeastern Antelope Valley, northeast of Los Angeles.
Hours after the attack, authorities served a search warrant on a nearby home, confiscated eight dogs and arrested their owner on suspicion of growing marijuana. Six pit bulls and two mixed breed dogs — some with blood on their coats and muzzles — were taken from the home of Alex Jackson, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
DNA tests on the blood confirmed that it was that of the victim, which led investigators to the 29-year-old Jackson, who was charged Wednesday with murder. He was arrested Thursday at his home and bail was set at $1.5 million.
Arraignment is scheduled for Friday. If convicted, Jackson, pictured below, faces life in prison. A spokeswoman for the DA's office could not confirm the murder charge is the first involving a dog mauling, but said officials with the office could not recall a case within the last decade.
The attack occurred near the intersection of 115th Street East and Avenue S (map), a flat, desolate intersection in the community just east of Palmdale.
Investigators determined that Devitt suffered 150 to 200 puncture wounds in the attack before a passerby called 911 and a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy chased the dogs. The woman was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The coroner's office determined that the cause of death was blood loss attributed to sharp force trauma.
Devitt's husband, Benjamin Devitt, said his wife began taking walks in the desert for fun and for her health. After he returned home from work on Thursday, sheriff's deputies knocked on his door and showed him an iPod, saying they were trying to identify its owners.
The device belonged to his wife.
When he was interviewed after the attack, Devitt told reporters he blames the owner -- not the dogs.
"You get caught up in somebody else's irresponsibility and these kinds of tragic, devastating things happen," he said.
Jackson also faces drug charges in connection with the discovery of the marijuana grow operation, according to the DA's office.