Defense rests in trial of Oklahoma City man charged with second-degree manslaughter for his pit bulls mauling 82-year-old woman to death

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The defense has rested in the trial of a man who is facing second-degree manslaughter charges after his dogs mauled an elderly woman to death back in 2017.

“That could’ve been your child, you know? Your brother, your sister,” Melinda Clonts told KFOR back in 2017.

Photo goes with story
Cecille Short

Prosecutors say Clont’s mother, 82-year-old Cecille Short, was mauled to death by two pit bulls owned by 36-year-old Antwon Burks in April of 2017.

“We wanted to make him aware that her family still grieves her,” Clonts said.

Short was killed while on her daily walk near NW 122nd and Council in the neighborhood where she lived.

Witnesses said they saw the dogs attack her and then drag her body.

Both dogs were later shot by Oklahoma City police officer.

Photo of two dogs accused of fatally attacking Cecille Short

Burks’ trial continued on Thursday.

During testimony, the defense called the dogs’ breeder to the stand.

She testified that background checks are always performed on potential dog owners and said she had no concern about selling the dogs to Burks.

Burks’ ex-girlfriend also took the stand, saying the dogs were friendly, well-trained and were never aggressive.

Several of Burks’ neighbors and friends who’ve been around the dogs repeated that same testimony on Thursday.

Photo goes with story
Antwon Burks during his trial.

In the days leading up to Short’s death, court records allege other neighbors had complained about the dogs breaking loose from Burks’ backyard. They said they told Burks the dogs were escaping through a hole in the fence, sometimes scaring area children.

Burks’ ex-girlfriend testified that she helped Burks fix that hole with nails, wood and chest pushed in front of it with trash cans behind it.

She told the courtroom it appeared secure.

The defense rested Thursday afternoon. Closing arguments will begin Friday at 8:15 a.m.

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