The Dayton man who allegedly owned the dog that mauled Maurice Brown to death in 2017 is scheduled for trial Wednesday in Dayton Municipal Court despite his attorney asking to be taken off the case.
Anthony Austin, 29, faces a control of dogs first-degree misdemeanor charge and is scheduled for a three-day, 8-person jury trial in Judge Judge Deirdre Logan’s courtroom. Austin faces maximum punishments of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Defense attorney Carl Goraleski on Feb. 7 filed a motion to withdraw because “the lines of communication between myself and Mr. Austin have ceased to work.”
Logan told the Dayton Daily News on Monday that she denied Goraleski’s motion. Goraleski declined comment Monday, as did City of Dayton chief prosecutor Stephanie Cook.
Brown, 60, died of blood loss from numerous dog bites on April 25, 2017, after being attacked by a pit bull that police say broke free of its restraint while in the backyard of the home at 345 Middle St.
Family members said Brown — an Air Force veteran — worked as a metallurgist when he lived in California.
Dayton police said they shot and killed one dog, but have repeatedly refused to release cruiser-cam footage illustrating their officers’ actions.
Dayton city officials routinely fulfill requests for cruiser cam, often making them available in a couple days. Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl said in October that: “It’s evidence in the trial. I understand the interest, but the criminal case takes precedence.”
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.
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. Pendley is still an officer, according to city records.
“I want the citizens to decide as opposed to a single judge,” Goraleski said when requesting a jury trial in October, referencing a Dayton police incident report. “It’s like they get a report and respond to an area where somebody is making distressful noises, and they don’t seem to focus in on that right away.”
Assistant city prosecutor Matthew Kortjohn filed proposed jury instructions that emphasized “lack of intent or knowledge is not a defense to a violation of this section” of law.
Kortjohn’s filing also stated Austin “is asserting an affirmative defense that at the time of the occurrence, Maurice Brown was unlawfully on the property owned or controlled by the defendant, and that the defendant’s dog was not unsecured.”
Earlier, Kortjohn filed a motion requesting Dayton Power and Light records for 345 Middle Street from Jan. 1, 2016, until July 1, 2018.
“The state will present evidence that the dog that bit the victim had been tethered in the yard of 345 Middle St. prior to the attack,” Kortjohn wrote. “The dog was one of four that were kept at an otherwise unoccupied house.”
Family said Brown was a talented musician who performed alongside the Ohio Players, Slave and other bands.
Brown moved back to Dayton in 1999 and volunteered for various organizations and played drums for multiple churches, family said.
“A misdemeanor for a death,” David Brown, Maurice Brown’s brother said last year, “that’s disturbing.”