Saturday, August 30, 2014

Deadly hike.....

Pamela Devitt, 63, went for her usual morning walk in the desert on May 9 2013..........  she did not return alive.

Benjamin Devitt, 67 and his wife of 43 years, Pamela, moved to Littlerock California in 2005 and enjoyed walking in the desert to stay in good health.  They have two grown children and one grandchild and they had planned to enjoy many years being grandparents.  That all ended that morning in May when a police officer asked him to identify his wife's Ipod.

Pamela had been walking on her usual route when the pack of dogs attacked her at around 9:30 am.  A passing motorist noticed something in the road near the intersection of 116th Street East and Avenue S.  What had appeared at first to be a pack of dogs tearing up trash, turned out to be dogs attacking an adult.  The motorist called 911 after the dogs tried to attack their truck and then most of the dogs ran off.  One officer stated that they had to fire shots at the remaining dog in order to try and save Pamela.

Pamela was rushed to the hospital but died enroute from blood loss and trauma.  She suffered between 150 and 200 puncture wounds from the bites as well as deep cuts and abrasions.  Her ears were torn, patches of skin were missing, bone could been seen through some of the cuts and most of her scalp had been torn off.  Pamela had been dragged about 50 feet across the road by the four pit bulls and had lost almost all of her blood from the hideous attack.

A day long search for the dogs involved in the attack finally led police to the home that Alex Jackson shared with his mother.  When police searched the property, they found eight dogs, 6 pit bulls and 2 mixed breed dogs.  All of the dogs were seized and the four that were found to have blood on their fur and muzzles were tested.  The four dogs that had blood on them were found to have been involved in the attack through positive DNA tests.  Police reported that Jackson had hidden the four dogs involved in the attack in his garage.

There were five female dogs and three male dogs ranging from 40 ponds to 70 pounds.  The two mixed breed dogs were said to be a Lab mix and Australian Shepard mix and only some of them were altered.  The four dogs that had been identified as the attackers were all pit bulls.

It was reported that Jackson's dogs had been involved in seven other altercations in the 18 months before the attack on Pamela.  Residents had stated that the dogs would repeatedly jump the fence surrounding the property and chase after passersby.  The letter carrier stated that one had jumped the fence and ended up chasing his truck for about a half mile when he attempted to deliver the mail.  Other incidents involved riders on horseback who had stated that the dogs either bite them or their horses.

Throughout his trial, Jackson reported that his dogs were friendly and had not been involved in any attacks.  Oddly though, in 2006, he had to euthanize four other pit bulls that he owned after they had terrorized a flock of emus that lived in the area.  Residents of the area state that they had complained about the dogs running freely through the neighborhood on a daily basis.

Alex Jackson, 31, was charged with second degree murder, cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of a controlled substance and assault with a deadly weapon.  The marijuana charges stem from the marijuana grow that police discovered when they searched the residence and the assault charge is related to his throwing a rock at a rider that was being attacked by his dogs.

On August 29 2014, Jackson was found guilty of second degree murder as well as the three drug charges.  He was found not guilty of the assault charge and he is facing the possibility of 25 years in jail when he is sentenced.

Pamela's husband Ben has moved from the area and now lives with his son.  Sadly, only he will be able to watch his grandchild grow up.

Related story in this blog:

Update Oct 4 2014:

After spending about an hour deliberating, Alex Jackson was found guilty back in August of second degree murder.  Today, Jackson found out that he will spending a bit of time in jail.  He was sentenced to 15 years to life for the murder of Pamela Devitt.  A murder conviction for a dog attack is rare and a sentence like his is rare as well.  Maybe this will help pave the way for owners to be more responsible when they own dogs that have a history of attacks.

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