Prelim. for woman charged in deadly pitbull attack - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Prelim. for woman charged in deadly pitbull attack

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A preliminary hearing is scheduled Monday for a mother and daughter charged with involuntary manslaughter over the death of their 75-year-old next-door neighbor six months after their two pit bulls attacked her in her backyard.

Alba Cornelio, 40, and her 20-year-old daughter, Carla, face up to four years and eight months in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey.

Besides involuntary manslaughter, the defendants are charged with a felony count of owning a mischievous animal causing death and six misdemeanor code violations, including failing to protect the public from a dog and owning a dangerous dog.

The manslaughter charges were added three weeks after Emako Mendoza died of complications from the June 18 attack at her Paradise Hills home. She was 76 when she died on Christmas Eve.

After the dogs' attack, the victim had her left arm amputated below the elbow and her left leg amputated below the knee. Doctors later amputated her right leg.

According to previous court testimony, Emako Mendoza was attacked in her fenced-in yard when she went outside to get the morning paper.

Witnesses testified that the pit bulls got through a gap in the fence, ripping a hole near a metal gate that the victim had installed to bridge the gap in the fence between the two properties.

Harvey alleged the defendants knew they had dangerous dogs because the same pit bulls escaped from their yard on Christmas Day 2010 and attacked a man who was walking his puppy. The puppy suffered a broken jaw and the man was bitten.

Defense attorney Donovan Dunnion argued that the dogs were family pets and never hurt another human being before the attack on Mendoza.

At the end of Monday's preliminary hearing, a judge will decide if enough evidence was presented for the defendants to stand trial.

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