Detroit Man Charged With Homicide In Fatal Pit Bull Attack Of Four-Year-Old Child

635850979721111691-lyons635847313598550898-XavierStricklandGeneke Antonio Lyons, 41, has been charged with homicide after his four pit bulls killed 4-year-old Xavier Strickland as his mother fought to protect him.


Lucillie Strickland was walking with Xavier at about 12:30 p.m. on her way to volunteer at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School when the pit bulls attacked them. She fell on the boy and was bit on her ear, leg and back. When she rose, the dogs grabbed Xavier and pulled him under a fence and killed him.

Lyons is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and possessing dangerous animals causing death. The dogs were reportedly a constant menace in the neighborhood and had previously escaped. Indeed, the boy’s 9-year-old sister had been attacked by the dogs last month but the dogs got away. The family has filed a lawsuit.

Under the common law, dogs unlike wild animals are not subject to strict liability. As a domesticated animal, dogs are subject to a negligence standard. This led to the evolution of a “one-free-bite” rule where after a bite, the dog was presumed to be vicious and the owner was potentially subject to strict liability for future attacks. The rule is a bit of a misnomer. You do not get a free bite if the dog showed vicious propensities in other ways.

It is often said that Michigan does not have the traditional one-free-bite rule. That is not entirely accurate. Instead it has a statutory and a common law standard. Under the Michigan Dog Bite Statute (MCL § 287.351), the first bite is sufficient for liability if the victim (1) was lawfully on the property and (2) did not provoke the dog. There is also a common law rule that, while said not to be a one-free-bite rule, comes close to the common law rule. It states that the victim only has to prove that the owner of the dog knew (or should have known) that the dog had vicious propensities. That is pretty much the same standard since the one free bite was viewed as giving the owner notice of the vicious propensities of the animal. That notice can be established by other means than an actual bite. Nevertheless, it is true that this common law is superseded by the statutory provision when applicable.

In this case, the dog would fall under any of the rules — statutory or common law. The prior reported incident would be enough to establish notice of the vicious propensities of the dogs.

Source: Freep

24 thoughts on “Detroit Man Charged With Homicide In Fatal Pit Bull Attack Of Four-Year-Old Child”

  1. Most states recognized that dog-related injuries are endemic to mass society and enacted versions of strict liability statutes for dog-related personal injuries/ death. Maryland is wedded to contributory negligence state but after 3 legislative sessions of bickering, MD enacted a (poorly drafted) dog-specific personal injury statute with a strict liability standard triggered by the dog at-large (out of owner’s control) when the injury event occurred. The precipitating case involved a reckless endangerment prosecution/conviction, as most do. The strict liability statute resulted from public outrage from all sides of the discussion at the Court of Appeals’ ruling that the dog’s breed, “pitbull”, triggered strict liability for the owner and, the landlord. All dogs can bite so the dog’s breed or genetic status is an arbitrary standard for plaintiffs. Most dog-owners have mixed-breed dogs so the breed standard is over and under-inclusive. the real problem is compensating injuries, but that’s another topic and a long discussion.

  2. The owner looks like a total miscreant, who gets his jollies terrorizing neighbors and people in general…the man is a human stain, ambulatory filth, he should be placed in a cage with a pack of starving wolves, see how this piece of sh** likes it!

  3. For a long time I thought pit bulls were automatically predatory and mean. Then I was educated by smart dog people, and got to know a pit bull on my block in San Diego. The owner, an easy going, kind, surfer dude, the pit bull, just like the owner. Well the dog didn’t surf. I felt ashamed that I allowed ignorance and fear warp my view for so many years. But, nothing makes us stupider than fear/anger. Well, maybe sex as well.

  4. Dogs, just like children, are shaped and trained by their masters. If you have abusive parents, abusive pet owners you are going to get warped and dangerous children and warped and dangerous animals.

    Are some children and some animals pre-disposed to being violent or uncontrollable? It does seem that way in studies that are finding links in humans between genetics and a tendency to be violent. Predisposed does not mean destined or doomed to be violent. In humans, with the proper rearing and conditioning the tendencies can be put under control. Same thing with animals. Proper training and handling is paramount.

    Pit Bulls get a worse reputation than they deserve. Mainly because many of those who are drawn to the breed are damaged personalities in themselves. They mistreat the animal and encourage the worst tendencies. THEY are the ones creating the monster.

    Not all dogs are meant for all environments either. Some should not be around small children or unstable environments. Others need to have much outdoor activity and exercise or they will become neurotic, if not actually insane. Small yappy dogs can be more aggressive and violent than a large German Shepard. The small dogs just don’t pose as much of a physical risk due to their size.

    I’ve known Pit Bulls that are the sweetest, most loyal and best behaved animals. I’ve known miniature Poodles that are vicious and just plain evil. It is the people who are training and warping these animals who are at fault. And …YES…this guy should be charged with homicide. He created the weapons and then set them loose on the community.

    Because a Pit Bull is a Pit Bull, it doesn’t automatically make it an evil or dangerous dog. ALL dogs are dangerous if not properly trained…..cats now….well…they ARE evil. (Just kidding, I have cats and love them dearly)

Comments are closed.