LITTLEROCK (CBSLA.com) — A 29-year-old Antelope Valley man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder in connection with a pit bull attack that led to the death of a female jogger.
Alex Jackson’s four dogs all tested positive for DNA belonging to 63-year-old Pamela Marie Devitt, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The dogs attacked Devitt, of Littlerock, on May 9 near the intersection of 116th Street East and Avenue S as she was out for a morning jog, officials said.
Devitt “was dragged 50 yards, scalped and her arm removed,” said Tony Bell, a spokesperson for LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
She died on the way to the hospital.
The dogs fled the scene and were later located at Jackson’s home in the 37300 block of 115th Street, about a quarter-mile from the attack, according to authorities.
“Further examination of the pit bulls revealed they had what appeared to be blood on their coats and muzzles,” Corina said.
Jackson was arrested that day after deputies discovered a marijuana grow on the property. He was not initially charged in Devitt’s death and bailed out of jail on the drug charge.
The Los Angeles County Coroner later determined Devitt’s cause of death was “blood loss attributed to sharp force trauma. The sharp force trauma was caused by the dog attack in which the victim sustained approximately 150 to 200 puncture wounds,” Corina said.
Jackson was arrested again Thursday morning for murder and owner negligence of an animal resulting in death.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, authorities received at least three other reports of Jackson’s dogs attacking people.
He has been booked at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station and is being held on more than $1 million bail.
Jackson will be in court Friday for arraignment. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
LA County Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Corina told KCAL9 this is the first time in his 30-year career that he’s been aware of a dog owner involved in a mauling case being charged with murder.
“This case is not just a dog getting out of the yard, attacking somebody and killing somebody,” he said.
“We have at least three or four people coming forward saying these dogs have attacked me, or attacked my livestock, before.”
Widower Ben Devitt is meanwhile grieving his beloved late wife. He said he supports the case, and hopes it will help to prevent another person from being mauled.
“Nothing’s going to undo what’s been done but if it can prevent this thing from ever happening again then more power to it,” he said.
The couple had been married 43 years.
Officials said the dogs linked to the attack will likely be put down.