Trial begins for owner of 2 pit bulls that mauled 82-year-old woman to death in Oklahoma City

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The jury trial began Tuesday for a man whose two pit bullss mauled an 82-year-old woman and her small dog to death in April of 2017.

Antwon Burks, 36, is facing a second-degree manslaughter charge for the death of Cecille Short, who was killed while on her daily walk in their Northwest 122nd and Council neighborhood.

Antwon Burks

“She called and said, ‘On the news there’s a woman, an older woman, in the neighborhood. I can’t get ahold of mom. She walks this time everyday,’” Melinda Clonts, Short’s daughter, told KFOR during Burks’s preliminary hearing, recalling the conversation with her sister on April 6, 2017. “I go, ‘Oh no, that’s not her.’ And she calls back and says it’s her.”

Tuesday, witnesses took the stand saying they saw both dogs dragging what they thought was rolled up carpet or a mannequin, not realizing it was the 82-year-old’s body.

Both dogs were later shot by Oklahoma City police officers.

A firefighter testified he ran to Short’s body, but it was too late. He said short’s head was turned 180-degrees, and when he went to feel for a pulse, he felt her vertebrae instead.

“That could’ve been your child, you know? Your brother. Your sister,” said Lisa Carlile, Short’s other daughter.

Cecille Short, 82, cropped photo from Facebook

In the days leading up to Short’s death, court records show neighbors complained about the dogs breaking loose from Burks’ backyard.

Prosecutors showed the jury pictures of a damaged fence, along with a large hole that was partially blocked by a recycling bin and cooler anchored down with rocks.

Those living nearby said they told Burks the dogs were escaping through the hole, even scaring children at times.

During the preliminary hearing, a neighbor testified Burks was aware of the problem and promised to get it fixed.

Burks pleaded not guilty in the case.

Photo of two dogs accused of attacking Cecille Short

News 4 is told the defense expects to call several witnesses on his behalf.

Short’s daughters said they just want to see justice for their mother.

“If we don’t start taking responsibility or making people who own these animals that could be potentially deadly responsible, then it’s going to continue,” said Carlile.

The trial starts back up at 8:15 a.m. in Judge Elliot’s courtroom.

So far, the defense has only cross-examined one witness.

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