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Jury Says Dog Caretaker Committed Manslaughter In Boy's Death

BARSTOW, Calif. (AP) - A jury on Wednesday convicted a dog caretaker of involuntary manslaughter for leaving a 100-pound mixed breed pit-bull unsupervised as it mauled to death a young Newberry Springs neighbor. James Chiavetta, 54, faces up to four years in prison when he returns to Superior Court in June for sentencing in the death of 10-year-old Cash Carson. "I just feel like Cash's life is so insignificant now," the boy's mother, Becky Carson, said after the verdict was read. "I'm so disappointed, so sad." Defense attorney Robert O'Connor could not be reached for comment. The fatal attack on the 66-pound boy occurred in April 2000. Cash and playmate Danny Gonzales encountered Bear and Louise, a smaller mixed-breed pit bull, while walking toward the property where Chiavetta was the caretaker for absentee owners. The dogs pounced on Cash. Louise grabbed him first, but Bear inflicted the fatal neck wounds, jurors were told. Chiavetta didn't testify during trial. But through his lawyer, he insisted he never knew Bear was dangerous. Superior Court Judge Thomas D. Glasser set a lowered bail at $60,000. Chiavetta, who suffers heart trouble and uses a walker, has been jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail because he had been charged with second-degree murder. "I just hope he never takes care of anyone's dogs again," said the boy's grandmother, Gloria White. Newberry Springs is about 25 miles east of Barstow.

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