To steal a bit from the late, great Norm MacDonald, it’s finally official – second-degree manslaughter is legal in the state of Oklahoma!
In what’s considered a landmark verdict for people who want to own dangerous dogs, but face no criminal accountability when those dogs get loose and kill a person, a jury acquitted Antwon Burks yesterday of second-degree manslaughter charges after his dogs killed Cecille Short in April of 2017.
The jury did this despite there being a documented history of Burks’ killer dogs – which he paid $8,000 for – escaping from his backyard and causing havoc in the neighborhood.
Via The Oklahoman:
Neighbors of the victim testified for the prosecution about seeing the dogs roaming loose over and over. They told jurors Burks knew because he would apologize on the Nextdoor app.
“There was always an acknowledgment and an excuse,” one prosecution witness, John Mallory, said.
He described how he kept the dogs away from frightened children in the days before Short was killed. Eventually that day, he confined them to fenced-in tennis courts.
Witnesses told jurors about arming themselves because of the dogs and about how they would not let children in their care play outside. One witness described how the dogs acted aggressively as he and his wife walked a puppy.
One neighbor distributed a flyer in the neighborhood after seeing the dogs try to get at another dog on Oct. 30, 2016. A male on a bicycle got between the dogs and their target, according to testimony.
Maybe it’s due to me and my dogs being attacked by other dogs a few times while walking through our neighborhood, but I think if you make a conscious decision to own dogs that have the ability to kill a human, and these dogs repeatedly escape from your property because you won’t properly secure it, and then they actually go out and kill someone in an unprovoked attack, your probably guilty of some criminal act and should spend a little time in jail. But then again, what do I know. I’m apparently not a moronic juror.
DA David Prater was a bit nicer to the jurists:
District Attorney David Prater said, “We are heartbroken for the family of Cecille Short. This has been a horrific and preventable tragedy to that family. We don’t understand the verdict of the jury but we respect it.”
In all fairness to the jury, some of Burks neighbors did testify that the dogs were nice to their kids. I guess that’s important, because as we all know, if big, dangerous dogs are nice to people that they’re familiar with, they obviously don’t pose a threat to anyone else. Or something like that.
Anyway, I’m not a lawyer – I just pretend to be one when I talk to women at bars – but I hope that Short’s family can at least file and win some sort of civil wrongful death lawsuit against Burks. He may not have to spend time in jail for his negligent stupidity that cost a grandmother her life, but at least the family can get some sort of financial compensation, and hopefully make it financially difficult, if not impossible, for Burks to ever spend $8,000 on killer dogs again.