Man Acquitted After Dogs Fatally Mauled Woman, 82, as Defense Says He Couldn't Have Foreseen Tragedy 

Cecille Short and her dog were attacked on April 6, 2017

Cecille Short
Cecille Short. Photo: Facebook

An Oklahoma jury has acquitted a man whose two dogs fatally mauled his 82-year-old neighbor on her daily morning walk in 2017.

On Friday, an Oklahoma County jury found Antwon Demetris Burks not guilty of second-degree manslaughter, KFOR and KOTV report.

Burks had been on trial after his two American Bully dogs fatally mauled his 82-year-old neighbor, Cecille Short, on April 6, 2017.

"We are heartbroken for the family of Cecille Short. This has been a horrific and preventable tragedy to that family. We don't understand the verdict of the jury but we respect it," District Attorney David Prater said, The Oklahoman reports.

Short was on her daily walk with her small dog named Taylor when she was attacked in Oklahoma City, KFOR reports. She was a great-grandmother of four when she died, according to her obituary.

"She loved to stay active, loved her neighbors, and especially loved the OKC Thunder, often texting her son-in-law and her friend Trudie during games," the obituary states. "She touched many lives and will be greatly missed."

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During the trial, which began on Nov. 1 after four years of delays, prosecutors said Short's death was Burks' fault because he failed to keep them contained, despite being told by neighbors they were dangerous. Prosecutors showed multiple photos of a hole in the fence of the home Burks rented, which was a block away from where Short was killed.

"This particular crime is a crime of negligence," Assistant District Attorney Kelly Collins said, according to the Oklahoman. "This is about as bad as it gets."

While the defense did not deny that the dogs killed Short, it did argue that no one could have seen the attack coming.

"They were bought from a reputable breeder," Burks' attorney Ed Blau said, KFOR reports. "They were well-trained. We had witness after witness testify they didn't think something like this could happen."

One defense witnesses described how she let her grandson play with the dogs and had seen Burks work on fixing the fence multiple times.

"He was always trying to keep them corralled," Michelle Huddleston said, according to the Oklahoman. "I never had any kind of fear of anything from them."

Burks faced up to four years in prison if convicted.

"My client [has] waited four years for this day, and this was an extraordinarily tough case," Blau said afterwards, KFOR reports. "Not easy on anybody. I appreciate the jury. I appreciate them listening to the evidence, looking at the law and coming to the decision they did."

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