Jury fails to reach verdict in fatal dog mauling of 12-year-old boy
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A mistrial was declared Monday in the case of a mother whose 12-year-old son was fatally mauled at home by the family’s two pit bulls while she was at a school picnic with her daughter.
The San Francisco Superior Court jury deadlocked on a felony endangerment charge against Maureen Faibish, who left her son, Nicholas, alone June 3 last year with the dogs.
After two days of deliberations, 10 jurors voted for acquittal, and two voted to convict, a court clerk said.
Faibish’s lawyer said the split showed jurors were not swayed by arguments that her client recklessly put the child in harm’s way. Faibish faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
“None of them believed that when Ms. Faibish walked out the door she believed her son would be seriously injured or killed,” said Lidia Stiglich. “There’s not much more that can be done to her. Her son is dead, and she’s the one who left him on that day.”
Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek a retrial, said Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.
“Our thoughts are still with that little boy that was mauled to death,” she said. “We just need to take the jurors’ feedback and take another look at the case.”
Faibish, 40, told Nicholas to play video games in a garage filled with rotting food and bags of garbage until she got home from the picnic, prosecutors said.
The boy was ordered to prop a shovel against a broken door and not go upstairs to where Ella was in heat and the male dog, Rex, had grown agitated from failed mating attempts.
Nicholas had been bitten twice earlier that day, and prosecutors argued Faibish knew the 70-pound dogs were dangerous and needed to be separated from her son.
They also argued Faibish knew her son would be forced from the squalid basement because the toilet was broken and he would eventually go looking for food because he only had a bagel, soda and chips.
When she returned, Faibish found Nicholas on the floor of an upstairs bedroom with both dogs on top of him and walls and doors covered with blood, according to testimony.
Police found Faibish at the scene with her face covered in blood after attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on her son, whose face was badly mauled.
Defense lawyers portrayed Faibish as a frazzled but loving mother who was watching her three children and the dogs while her husband looked for work in Oregon, where the family planned to move.
The parents said the children loved the dogs and there was no indication they would attack the boy.
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