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Couple in fatal dog mauling case sentenced

UPDATE @ 6:30 p.m. May 27:

The couple whose dogs fatally mauled Dayton resident Klonda Richey to death in 2014 will spend months in jail and must perform hundreds of hours of community service.

Andrew Nason, 30, and Julie Custer, 27, were sentenced today in Dayton Municipal Court a couple weeks after both pleaded no contest and were each found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of failure to control dogs.

Judge Carl Henderson sentenced Nason to 150 days in jail, 500 hours of community service in the next year, a $500 fine and court costs. Custer was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 480 hours of community service in the next three years, a $200 fine and court costs. Nason was credited with 26 days of jail-time credit while Custer was credited with one day.

Neither defendant said anything at the hearing until Henderson asked them if they were sorry and for what. “I’m sorry that Ms. Richey lost her life over this situation,” Custer said.

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Nason added that his dogs also died and said, “I’m sorry for all.”

Their sentences will be staggered because they have three minor children. Nason was booked into jail Wednesday. Once he has served out his sentence, Custer will begin her sentence. They will be on probation for up to five years, during which time they are barred from owning dogs.

Richey, 57, was attacked in the driveway of her home at 31 E. Bruce Ave. in the early morning hours of Feb. 7, 2014, by two mixed mastiffs. The dogs were registered to Custer, who lived at 35 E. Bruce Ave. with Nason. The dogs were shot to death when they attacked police officers who responded to the call.

“This is a tragedy that should never have been allowed to happen,” said Dayton City Prosecutor Stephanie Cook, who asked Henderson for the maximum 180-day sentence for each. “I’m asking you to do what nobody else was able to do — not the animal resource center, not the police, not the court next door for the protection order, not the county prosecutor’s office in terms of that indictment — and ask that you give justice to Klonda Richey today and to her family.”

The executor of Richey’s estate has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Nason and Custer, which is scheduled to go to trial in August. A second civil suit was filed against the Board of County Commissioners of Montgomery County, the county’s animal resource center and its director, Mark Kumpf.

UPDATE @ 12:33 p.m. (May 27):

The couple whose dogs mauled Dayton resident Klonda Richey to death in 2014 was sentenced today in Dayton Municipal Court.

Judge Carl Henderson sentenced Andrew Nason to 150 days in jail, 500 hours of community service and he must pay $500 in fines and court costs. Julie Custer was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 480 hours of community service and $200 in fines and court costs.

They originally were sentenced to the maximum 180 days in jail each, but the judge suspended 30 days of Nason’s sentence and 90 days for Custer. Also, Nason got 26 days of jail-time credit, and Custer one day of jail-time credit.

Their sentences will be staggered because they have a child. Nason will serve his jail sentences first, followed by Custer.

Nason was booked into the Montgomery County Jail at 11:38 a.m. today, online jail records show.

FIRST REPORT (April 15):

A couple whose dogs mauled a woman to death more than a year ago was found guilty Tuesday on all counts by a Dayton Municipal Court judge.

Andrew Nason and Julie Custer were scheduled to go on trial Tuesday morning, but instead they pleaded no contest. Judge Carl Henderson then found them guilty on two counts each of failure to control dogs.

The victim, Klonda Richey, 57, was attacked in the driveway of her home at 31 E. Bruce Ave. in the early morning hours of Feb. 7, 2014 by two cane corso mastiffs.

The dogs were registered to Custer, 27, who lived at 35 E. Bruce Ave. along with the homeowner, Nason, 30.

However, the animals did not have a designation as nuisance, dangerous or vicious because they had no history of biting someone or killing another dog, Mark Kumpf, director of the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center, previously said.

Richey’s sister, Linda Roach, told the judge her sister deserves justice, and that Nason and Custer were capable of preventing this tragedy from happening.

“They trained their dogs to act in such a way that their dogs are dead and my sister had a brutal death,” she said.

Police were called to Bruce Avenue four hours after the attack, and officers shot and killed the animals after they charged at them.

Nason and Custer are expected to be sentenced in about 30 days following the completion of a pre-sentence investigation. Both face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine on each count. The pair remain out of jail on bond.

During the hearing, Prosecutor Stephanie Cook presented evidence showing Nason and Custer owned the dogs. She also reported DNA collected from the animals’ mouths and stomach matched Richey. Based on that evidence, Henderson found the pair guilty.

Richey, who worked for Montgomery County Children Services and lived with about 20 cats, sought protection from the dogs and her neighbors for months before her death, according to records obtained by this newspaper from the county and courts. In total, 13 complaints were filed with the Animal Resource Center and another 46 calls were made to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center related to Nason’s home between Dec. 27, 2011, and Richey’s death on Feb. 7.

An attorney handling Richey’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Montgomery County officials for the Feb. 7, 2014, dog mauling that killed Richey.

The suit names as defendants the Montgomery County Commissioners, the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center (ARC), ARC director/Montgomery County Dog Warden Mark Kumpf and various John Does.

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