“Help me, ma!” Last words of 4-year-old boy disemboweled, killed by four pit bulls

Xavier Strickland, four, who was mauled to death by pit bulls yesterdayThe mother of a 4-year-old Detroit boy who was mauled to death by four pit bulls earlier this month described in heart-wrenching detail her son’s final moments in a testimony that reduced even the judge to tears.

Xavier Strickland was walking with his mother to volunteer at a school on the afternoon of December 2 when the dogs crawled out from underneath a fence on Baylis Street and lunged at the toddler.

Xavier was wrenched from Lucille Strickland’s hands, dragged away and torn apart as his mother watched in horror.

The pit bulls’ owner, 41-year-old Geneke Lyons, has been charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and possessing dangerous dogs causing death.

During Day 2 of a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Ms Strickland recounted how she and Xavier saw the dogs run towards them as they tried to back away, reported the Detroit Free Press. 

The woman and her son tripped and fell, and the four vicious animals surrounded them. Strickland tried to shield the 4-year-old with her body and was bitten on the leg, back and ear.

‘I started kicking and punching them away,’ she said. ‘They moved, and I got up a little bit, and I had him in my arm.’

But the powerfully built animals were able to snatch the little boy from her grasp and drag him into their owner’s yard, where Strickland said they proceeded to bite and feed on him.

Strickland went to call for help. As she was running, she said she heard what were likely Xavier’s final words: ‘Help me, ma! Help me!’

District Judge Lydia Nance-Adam, who presided over the preliminary hearing, was seen wiping her eyes with a handkerchief as Strickland offered her testimony.

Other witnesses recalled seeing Ms Strickland lying in the grass and screaming for help.

Cherisse Williams, a neighbor, testified on Tuesday that the dogs had disemboweled Xavier.

Another witness Yolanda Samuels called 911 after hearing Strickland’s screams. She told the court Wednesday she saw the four dogs ‘eating’ the little boy.

‘There’s really no words for me that could describe what I saw. His eyes were open, looking at the sky,’ she said from the stand, according to Click On Detroit. 

When officers arrived on the scene, they were forced to shoot three of the animals in order to stop the attack, while the fourth was taken to the pound and later euthanized.

Xavier was rushed to Henry Ford Hospital, where he died a short time later from severe abdominal injuries.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy called the fatal incident a ‘harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership,’ while defense attorney Francisco Villarruel argued that the dogs were dangerous, not the owner.

Villaruel asked the judge to reduce his client’s $1million cash bond, but his request was denied Wednesday.

The hearing resumes January 7, at which time the court will hear testimony from neighborhood children.

Ms Strickland paid tribute to her son earlier this month, saying that he was clever and liked playing with his toy trucks but was also small for his age.

The family have also set up a GoFundMe page in order to help pay for his funeral costs.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Strickland added that it was not the first time one of the pit bulls had attacked her children – she said her nine-year-old daughter was bitten a month ago.

She said that she had to take the girl to see a doctor after the attack but she only sustained scratches.

Ms Strickland added that she reported the incident to the police, and spokeswoman Sgt. Cassandra Lewis confirmed that a report had been made and said officers were looking into it.

Other neighbors said the pets would often bark when people passed the yard, and that other dog owners would often avoid the property while walking their animals.

An autopsy shows that Xavier died of multiple puncture wounds to his body, with the coroner ruling out the possibility of the death being from natural causes.

Source: The DailyMail

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