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Dayton man pleads not guilty in charges after fatal dog mauling

The Dayton man who allegedly owned the dog that mauled Maurice Brown to death in April 2017 pleaded not guilty on Monday.

Anthony Austin, 28, pleaded not guilty in Dayton Municipal Court to one count of control of dogs, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Austin had a pretrial hearing set for Sept. 25 that the judge said likely would be continued when it is assigned to a different judge.

Austin’s initial court appearance came 16 months after Brown died while walking near 345 Middle St. in Dayton and being attacked by at least one animal. Dayton police said they shot and killed one dog on April 25, 2017.

RELATED: ‘A misdemeanor for a death, that’s disturbing’

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“We were quite patient waiting for the prosecutor to review it,” Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl said last week. “We felt the evidence was there, and we’re looking forward to moving forward in his prosecution.”

Dayton police routinely release dash-cam video to media — including officer-involved shootings — usually within a day or two. Asked if the video shot when two officers first got to the scene would be be released, Biehl said: “It will be available in trial.”

Dayton police Lt. Kimberly Hill, who used to oversee the department’s Professional Standards Bureau, was disciplined for not completing paperwork that could have led to sanctions for officers Daniel Hartings and Scott Pendley.

RELATED: A year later, no charges in Dayton dog mauling death

A commander’s review of a related investigation of the dog-mauling case said Hartings and Pendley “failed to render immediate assistance and/or first aid.” Hartings retired in 2017.

“It’s evidence in the trial,” Biehl said of the cruiser camera and the city’s decision to withhold it. “I understand the interest, but the criminal case takes precedent.”

Austin was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in an unrelated aggravated burglary felony case that had been pleaded down to misdemeanor criminal damaging.

Brown, 60, died of blood loss on April 25, 2017, after being attacked by a pit bull that broke free of its restraint while in the backyard of the home at 345 Middle St.

RELATED: Investigation: Late paperwork means no discipline for cops in fatal dog mauling

“A misdemeanor for a death,” David Brown, Maurice Brown’s brother said earlier this month, “that’s disturbing.”

Dayton city prosecutor Stephanie Cook agreed.

“I’m pleased that we’re able to have evidence to be able to go forward and file a formal charge,” Cook said then. “It seems woefully inadequate when you’re dealing with a fatality to be charging somebody with a misdemeanor … that’s where we’re at right now.”

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