Judge tosses Detroit dog owner's murder charge in boy's mauling death

DETROIT – A trial is set to get underway for a Detroit man whose dogs snatched and killed a 4-year-old boy in December as he walked with his mother.

Geneke Lyons was facing a second-degree murder charge in Xavier Strickland's death. However, Judge James Callahan threw out the murder charge Wednesday but kept involuntary manslaughter and possessing dangerous animals causing death charges.

Xavier was attacked by the dogs, pit bulls, on Dec. 2. 

“The dog snatched him from me and dragged him from me," Xavier's mother, Lucille Strickland, said.

The mother 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."

Police had to shoot the dogs to free the boy's body. Three were killed; a fourth was euthanized.

Lyons wasn't at the home at the time. Evidence includes video of the attack recorded by a security camera.

Lyons' attorney has argued that he had no notice that the dogs were a problem in the neighborhood.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy calls the case a "harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership."

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