Man bound over on charges in neighbor's death during attempted rescue from dog mauling

Michael Lewis Williams charged with careless discharge of weapon causing death

Michael Lewis Williams, 61, of Detroit, at his preliminary hearing on Monday, April 9, 2018. (WDIV)
Michael Lewis Williams, 61, of Detroit, at his preliminary hearing on Monday, April 9, 2018. (WDIV)

DETROIT – A Detroit man charged in connection with the fatal shooting of his neighbor last year while trying to stop a dog mauling was in court Monday morning for a preliminary hearing and was bound over for trial.

Michael Lewis Williams, 61, was charged with careless discharge of a weapon causing injury or death in connection with the fatal shooting of Patricia Ann Cosby, 55, on Oct. 9, 2017.

Williams opened fire in an attempt to stop a dog from attacking Cosby, but the bullet struck her. Medical officials performed CPR on her in the middle of the street, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Det. Jeb Rutledge was called to the stand and talked briefly about the scene. He told the court that a shell casing was found inside the fence line of a home on Goodwin Street.

Officer John Mitchell discussed the interview conducted with Williams on the day of the shooting. Part of the interview was played for the court. 

The 911 call made by another neighbor was played at the preliminary hearing. Listen below:

Mitchell said the caller witnessed part of the incident and prosecutors noted that a dog isn’t mentioned in the call until the last moments.

The medical examiner’s report was entered into evidence and the prosecution argued that nowhere in the report is there a description of injuries that could be attributed to any sort of dog attack.

“There are some things about this incident that are disturbingly unclear. The dog is never seen by anyone besides himself,” the prosecution argued. “It seems to be unclear about whether this dog ever existed.”

Williams was bound over for trial.

What happened

Cosby was walking on Detroit's east side Monday when she was attacked by a dog and fatally shot by a neighbor who tried to help.

Police said the woman was in the middle of Goodwin Street when the dog charged at her. She called for help, and Williams grabbed his gun.

Williams tried to get the dog off her, but his shot struck the woman instead. He chased after the dog and fired two more shots.

Police said the woman was dragged into the street by the dog, which neighbors described as a stray of no specific breed. She was crying for help when a friend of hers who lives nearby heard her.

"Our resident, seeing this -- he's a CPL holder -- came out of his home and engaged the dog," Detroit police Capt. Darin Szilagy said. "He fired an unknown number of shots to try to stop the attack. Unfortunately, during that action, the woman was struck."

Police said they have no doubt the man's intention was to help, not harm, the woman.

"We have checked the area for the initial dog that caused the mauling, and we have not located it yet," Szilagy said. "We do believe that dog may have been wounded, and we have been canvassing the area to try to do due diligence to locate this animal."

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Prosecutor's office asks for high bond, judge disagrees

A third year law student appeared on behalf of the prosecutor's office during Williams' arraignment and asked the court to set bond at a half million dollars.

"Your honor is giving me a look," the student said to the court. "$300,000?"

Magistrate Laura Echartea informed her that high bonds are for people who are considered a danger to the public.

"You went from 500 to 300," the judge said. "Why are you asking for such a high amount? This is not armed robbery, this is not murder or second degree or anything like that. This is careless discharge of a firearm."

The student said that the people feel a careless discharge is a "threat to the public at large."

Echartea set Williams' bond at $45,000, 10 percent.

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