Hung jury in Maureen Faibish dog-mauling trial
Bay City News Service
July 31, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - With the possibility of a retrial
looming, Maureen Faibish appeared cautiously relieved today following
a jury's deadlocked decision regarding child endangerment charges
filed against her stemming from her son's fatal pit bull mauling
in San Francisco in 2005
Faibish faced charges of felony child endangerment and misdemeanor
child endangerment. The jury voted 10 in favor of acquittal and
two against acquittal on the felony charge. Seven jury members
voted to find Faibish guilty and five voted to acquit on the misdemeanor
charge, according to Linda Klee, chief of administration for the
San Francisco District Attorney's Office.
"It was a difficult case. It was a tragedy," Klee said
following the verdicts. "There was sympathy for (Faibish)
and you never know how that is going to affect a jury's decision."
The prosecution maintained that Faibish, 40, left her 12-year-old
son Nicholas home alone on June 3, 2005, with a dangerous predator
and willfully did so knowing that he had already been bitten earlier
The prosecution claimed that Faibish knew that Rex, the unneutered
male dog, and Ella, the unspayed female pit bull, were capable
of causing serious injury. Prosecutor Linda Moore said Faibish
left her son home and told him to remain in the basement with
a shovel barring the door.
Prosecutors said Faibish knew her son would leave the basement
because he had only a soda and chips for sustenance and a toilet
that was backed up and useless.
Furthermore, Moore claimed that evidence pointed to the fact
that Nicholas had a learning disability and that there was no
way of knowing whether he would follow his mother's directions
to stay in the basement and away from the dogs.
The prosecution's claim that Rex was an aggressive predator drew
a stark contrast to photos of the Faibish family, dogs included,
taken a few months before the mauling.
Pictures of Rex dressed in a San Francisco 49ers sweatshirt,
and another of him sitting next to Nicholas on a couch, reiterated
the defense's claim that the pit bulls were family dogs.
"They understand that people make mistakes. That parents
make mistakes," Faibish's defense attorney Lidia Stiglich
said of the jury. "They just thought it was a tragedy. They
had problems making that criminal."
Stiglich said that while Faibish is relieved by the outcome of
the trial, she realizes there is still the prospect of a second
"This whole thing has been devastating for her personally,
for her whole family," Stiglich said. "Obviously this
matter's not done so it's hard for them to put it behind them."
Stiglich said Faibish planned to return home to Oregon where
her family now lives with a new dog, this one a Labrador retriever.
Faibish would return to court on Sept. 11 to discuss whether
the district attorney's office intends to seek a retrial.
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