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Mom, daughter convicted in deadly pit bull attack

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Two San Diego pit bull owners were convicted Monday of involuntary manslaughter and other crimes after their dogs escaped confinement through a hole in their fence and fatally mauled a 75-year-old woman.

Alba Cornelio, 41, and her daughter Carla Cornelio, 21 were also found guilty of owning a mischievous animal that caused death, according to U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/14Otr9J).

Alba Cornelio cried in the courtroom after hearing the verdict and was removed by paramedics on a gurney.

In 2011, 75-year-old Emako Mendoza was in her backyard when the dogs entered through a gap in a shoddy fence the judge said the Cornelios should have mended.

Mendoza underwent amputations for her left arm and leg as a result of the attack, but died from severe infections and complications. She was 76 when she died.

Defense lawyers unsuccessfully argued that no one could have foreseen the attack, and that both the Cornelios and Mendozas made significant efforts to reinforce the barrier between their yards.

The Cornelios are due for sentencing March 11 and face up to four years in prison.

In a separate matter, a pair of pit bulls mauled a 91-year-old Hemet woman before she died Friday, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/WggYIj).

Elsie Grace, a water colorist who taught painting classes at Copper Canyon College in Joshua Tree, was pronounced dead by paramedics at a Motel 6.

Grace suffered a great deal of trauma to her body, according to Lt. Duane Wisehart. She had been in the room with the pit bulls and her son.

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1 UserComments
Tom_Mullen 7:10pm February 19, 2013

If it takes these women to go to jail for their criminal negligence then so be it. But clearly these dogs should have been put down before this tragic nightmare for the 76 year old decedent and her family. As the owner of a Rottweiler, bad breeding (poor temperaments, zero socialization and training) dogs can become lethal. But please do not impugn the pit breed in general, but/for for the lack of quality and vicious propensities in these dogs you write about, I know and have met hundreds of pits who are loving, kind and well socialized. This breed is NOT inherently dangerous but the Cornelios obviously were.