DETROIT - The mother of a 4-year-old Detroit boy who was attacked by pit bulls says her son was snatched from her grasp and pulled under a fence out of her reach.
Lucille Strickland was walking with her son, Xavier, on Dec. 2 when the dogs started coming at them.
Strickland said she fell backwards onto her son and tried to pick him up to run.
“The dog snatched him from me and dragged him from me," Strickland said.
She said a dog dragged her son by the hood of his jacket under the fence to where more dogs were. She said she could only hear her son screaming, "Help me mom."
Strickland's testimony is part of the preliminary exam for the dogs' owner, Geneke Lyons.
Lyons is charged with second-degree murder.
36th District Court Judge Lydia Nance-Adams will decide whether there's enough evidence to send Lyons to trial. The hearing will continue in January.
On Tuesday, the judge watched video from surveillance cameras at Lyons’ home that presumably shows the attack on Xavier.
A witness, Cherisse Williams, said she heard the mother’s cries for help and sprayed one of the dogs with Mace.
“The dogs were over him like they were snatching his clothes off,” Williams said.
Another witness, Yolanda Samuels, said she called 911.
“There was a lot of commotion, screaming and wailing. It was a lot," Samuels said. “There’s really no words that could describe what I saw. Looking at Xavier, his eyes were open, looking at the sky.”
Police had to shoot the dogs to free the boy's body. Three were killed; a fourth was euthanized.
Prosecutor Kym Worthy calls it a "harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership."
Defense attorney Francisco Villarruel says the dogs were dangerous, not the owner.
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