A Southern California man has been charged with murder in the death of a 63-year-old woman who was mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls earlier this month.
Alex Donald Jackson, 29, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with one count of murder in the fatal mauling of 63-year-old Pamela Devitt, who was out for a jog in the Mojave desert on May 9 when she was attacked. Passing motorists witnessed the mauling and called 911.
"When the deputy showed up, Dewitt was still alive. Paramedics thought she would live," Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Division told ABCNews.com. But she died on the way to the hospital, Corina said.
An autopsy revealed that Devitt had died of blood loss attributed to sharp-force trauma. She sustained approximately 150 to 200 puncture wounds, Corina said.
When an officer arrived at the scene, one of the dogs was still mauling Devitt, according to Corina. The deputy approached, and the dog ran off but soon turned around and came at the officer. He fired a shot, and the dog ran off again, only to turn around a moment later and come at the officer a second time. The officer fired a second shot, and the dog again took off, Corina said.
Acting on information, sheriff' and animal-control officials obtained a warrant and searched Jackson's home, located about a block from the site of the attack. Eight dogs, six pit bulls and two mixed-breeds, were taken from the home.
Jackson will be arraigned Friday at Los Angeles Superior Court, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. He's being held on $1 million bail.
Deputy District Attorney Samantha MacDonald said that since January authorities had received at least three other reports of Jackson's pit bulls attacking people.
Corina said that the fence around the property was only 3- to 4-feet feet high, and the dogs could easily hop over it. He said that police found other people who had similar stories, and area residents told ABC's Los Angeles station KABC-TV they feared the dogs.
"It's really scary," Diane Huffman told KABC-TV. "I don't know what to think. I really think I'm going to be getting a gun to protect myself.
"They'd be walking past the house, and the dogs would attack them or their livestock, he said. "In one instance, they were attacking a guy on a horse. [Jackson} encouraged it. When he tried to stop the dogs, [Jackson] threw rocks at him, and said to leave his dogs alone."
Jackson, who allegedly ran a marijuana operation at his home, according to the Los Angeles County DA, was also charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession for sale of a controlled substance, and assault with a deadly weapon.
Corina said that the dogs, which appear to be of varying ages, were all fully grown. He said that they were currently with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control, and would likely be euthanized.