82-Year-Old Woman Was Killed by Dogs After Neighbors' Complaints, Owner on Trial for Manslaughter
An Oklahoma man has been charged with manslaughter after his dogs mauled his 82-year-old neighbor to death.
On Monday, opening statements began in the trial of Antwon Burks, 36, who has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after his two pit bulls fatally attacked Cecille Short in 2017, an Oklahoma County court official tells PEOPLE.
Short was on her daily walk with her small dog when she was attacked in Oklahoma City, KFOR reports.
Short, whose dog was named Taylor, 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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The case has taken four years to go to trial. During preliminary hearings, the court heard from police who responded to the scene and Short and Burks' neighbors.
In 2017, daughter Melinda Clonts told KFOR: "We wanted to look the gentleman in the eye that ultimately bears responsibility for our mother's death. We wanted to make him aware that our family still grieves her. We hope he never goes through what we're going through."
Neighbors testified during preliminary hearings that they had complained about the dogs multiple times before Short's death.
One said they witnessed the attack but at first thought the dogs were "dragging a carpet" down the street before realizing it was a body and called 911, according to the station. The same neighbor said she saw the dogs "rip apart" Short's small dog.
Oklahoma City police told the court how 10 shots were fired at the dogs, killing one.
"That could have been your child, you know? Your brother, your sister," Short's daughter Lisa Carlile said in 2017, KFOR reports. "If we don't start taking responsibility or making people who own these animals that could be potentially deadly responsible, then it's going to continue."
Burks has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. His attorney, Ed Blau, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.