Murder charge filed against Detroit dog owner in boy's death

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Monday, December 7, 2015
ktrk-AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis

DETROIT, MI -- The owner of pit bulls that dragged a 4-year-old Detroit boy from his mother and killed him was charged with second-degree murder, a prosecutor announced Monday, describing the attack as a "harrowing example" of reckless ownership.

"The evidence in this case will show that these dogs saw this child as a meal," prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

Geneke Lyons, 41, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and possessing dogs causing death. A magistrate in 36th District Court returned him to jail Monday. No lawyer who could speak on his behalf was listed yet.

"Justice is being served," said Clarence Strickland, the father of Xavier Strickland.

Xavier was walking with his mother last Wednesday when they were attacked by pit bulls. Police had to shoot the dogs to free the boy's body. Three were killed; a fourth was seized and euthanized.

"It is a gross understatement to say that this case is a harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership," Worthy said.

Separately, a civil lawsuit was filed by Xavier's parents against Lyons.

"We get calls every day at our office about injuries caused by dogs with dangerous owners," attorney Mark Bernstein said. "But this affects our region more profoundly - it's the death of a child."