Kansas City, KS Man found guilty in pit bull attack case

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Postby cheekymunkee » April 4th, 2008, 7:41 pm

Man found guilty in pit bull attack case

Jurors this afternoon found a Kansas City, Kan., man guilty of involuntary manslaughter after a pit bull that he allegedly took care of attacked and killed a woman in 2006.

Wyandotte County Attorney Jerome A. Gorman told jurors that Derick D. Lee, 34, cared for the dog, which is banned in Kansas City, Kan.

Jimmie Mae McConnell, 71, was tending her garden on July 27, 2006, when the dog allegedly vaulted over a fence and attacked her as she worked in her garden. She managed to call her son-in-law and shout, “They got me — call 911.”

Firefighters arrived within minutes and pulled a pit bull off the woman. Neighbors said the dog lived in Lee’s yard next door to McConnell. Lee has said the dog was a stray, but he fed it for about two to three months.

A coroner ruled her official cause of death as a cardiac arrhythmia brought on by the dog attack.

Defense Attorney Bill Dunn argued that McConnell suffered from severe coronary heart disease and could have died from the stress of running a garden tiller that day. He also questioned whether other dogs might be responsible for the crime and whether the animal pulled off McConnell’s body actually met the definitions of an illegal animal under the local ordinance.

“Her physical condition was so poor that she could have died while sitting on the couch or walking down the street,” he said.

Gorman told jurors that a conviction doesn’t mean Lee set out to willfully have McConnell killed.

“This not a case of first-degree murder,” he said.

But, Gorman argued, Lee should be held accountable because he cared for a dog that has been banned by local ordinance for years.

It was Lee’s second trial. A different set of jurors spent hours deliberating in May, but they could not agree on a verdict.

Lee’s mother and McConnell’s children have attended virtually all of the court hearings.

Lee’s mother, Terri Lee, said her family is very sorry for what happened to McConnell. But she believes Wyandotte County’s Unified Government is trying to make an example out of her son.

She said the government is negligent for failing to enforce its ordinance.
| Dawn Bormann, dbormann@...
http://www.kansascity.com/news/breaking ... 58160.html

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