Mother on trial for dog-mauling death breaks down during closing arguments |

Mother on trial for dog-mauling death breaks down during closing arguments

Marcus Wohlsen

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Lawyers had to escort a sobbing mother from the courtroom Wednesday during closing arguments in the trial accusing her of felony child endangerment in the dog-mauling death of her 12-year-old son.

Before breaking down, Maureen Faibish, 40, fidgeted and looked straight ahead as a prosecutor told a San Francisco Superior Court jury she knew the family’s two pit bulls posed a threat to her son Nicholas, but still left him home alone with the dogs.

“If Maureen Faibish didn’t think the dogs were dangerous, why did she tell her son to stay downstairs and barricade the door with a shovel and not let the dogs in?” said Assistant District Attorney Linda Moore.

Faibish returned to the house nearly three hours later to find the dogs, Rex and Ella, on top of her son’s bloody, lifeless body in an upstairs bedroom.

Faibish knew the dogs had bitten Nicholas twice earlier that day, and that her son’s learning disability made it difficult for him to follow instructions, but “she ignored the danger,” Moore said.

Defense lawyer Lidia Stiglich countered that Faibish had no reason to believe the family’s dogs were capable of inflicting such violence.

“The dogs they knew are the dogs that slept with their kids, that slept with their babies from the time those dogs were puppies,” Stiglich said.

Stiglich told the jury of eight women and four men that the death of Faibish’s son was a “tragedy” that no reasonable person could have predicted.

“This is not a crime,” she said. “We will never know what triggered that attack. And you can’t fill in that lack of proof by guessing at what happened.”

When Faibish left her house in June 2005 to attend a school picnic with her daughter, Nicholas was left in a basement room with no working phone or toilet, according to police testimony.

Police arrived at the scene to find Faibish with her face covered in blood after attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on her son, whose face was badly mauled.

Jurors began deliberating Wednesday afternoon immediately following the end of the closing arguments.

If convicted, she could face 10 years in prison.

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