The Dayton man who allegedly owned the dog that mauled another man to death in April 2017 will ask for a jury trial likely to be held in December.
Anthony Austin, 28, who pleaded not guilty last month, was in court Tuesday for a pretrial conference. Austin wore Montgomery County Jail blue clothing because he was sentenced to 90 days in an unrelated Montgomery County Common Pleas Court felony case.
Austin faces one count of control of dogs, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Dayton Municipal Court Judge Deirdre Logan originally set an Oct. 30 trial date, but after defense attorney Carl Goraleski indicated a jury demand, Logan said the trial likely would move to late December.
“I want the citizens to decide as opposed to a single judge,” Goraleski said, 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.”
It’s been nearly 17 months since Maurice Brown, 60, died of blood loss while walking near 345 Middle St. in Dayton and being attacked by at least one pitbull-type dog. Dayton police said they shot and killed one dog on April 25, 2017.
Dayton police have repeatedly denied requests for dash-cam video related to the incident. Two officers could have been disciplined in the case, but the late filing of some internal police paperwork negated a possible punishment..
“It’s evidence in the trial,” Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl said has said of the cruiser camera and the city’s decision to withhold it. “I understand the interest, but the criminal case takes precedent.”
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.
Goraleski said he initially thought Austin might be indicted for manslaughter.
“I’m pleased that we’re able to have evidence to be able to go forward and file a formal charge,” Dayton city prosecutor Stephanie Cook said earlier this year. “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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