Sentenced: 4 Years in Prison | Conviction Upheld (2011)
UPDATE 05/16/08: Today Lee was sentenced to four years in prison plus two years probation for a fatal pit bull attack on Jimmie Mae McConnell. The pit bull jumped Lee's fence and attacked and killed Jimmie as she gardened in her backyard. DogsBite.org hopes the McConnel family can heal now. A Victory of this kind is far better than no victory at all.
04/02/08: Derrick Lee Found Guilty
Jurors found Derrick Lee guilty of involuntary manslaughter after his pit bull attacked and killed Jimmie Mae McConnell in 2006. Wyandotte County Attorney Jerome A. Gorman said that Lee should be held accountable because pit bulls had been banned by a local ordinance for years. The jury agreed.
Lee’s mother, Terri Lee, said her family is very sorry for what happened to McConnell. But she believes Wyandotte County’s Unified Government is trying to make an example out of her son. She said the government is negligent for failing to enforce its ordinance.
04/01/08: Derrick Lee Charged
Kansas City, KA - On July 27th, 2006, Jimmie Mae McConnell, 71, was mauled to death in her garden by a pair of dogs; the dogs jumped her fence to attack her. The pit bull was still on her when firefighters and paramedics arrived. They used an axe and a pole, items usually used to pull down ceilings, to remove the dog. At the time of the attack, pit bulls were banned in Kansas City
The owner of the dogs, Derick D. Lee, 34, is now on trial for the second time and faces involuntary manslaughter charges. The first trial ended in a hung jury.
The official cause of death was determined to be cardiac arrhythmia brought on by the trauma of the attack. In the first trial, Lee's defense claimed, "the dog was not his and that it was a stray." Defense said that McConnell had such severe heart disease that using a tiller in the garden could have caused her death. Defense also said there could have been other dogs responsible for the attack.
District Attorney Jerome Gorman announced after the trial that he would try the case again. Gorman said he found after speaking with jurors in the first trial that the majority had favored a guilty verdict. His decision brought relief to McConnell's family members, who have attended every hearing and were adamant that another trial be held.
Family members said that Jimmie had been afraid of the neighbor's dogs for nearly a year before the attack. The dogs had menaced her from behind the fence, growling and barking aggressively as she gardened. She once told her son, Chris McConnell that, "One day, one of those dogs are going to get me." They finally did. Her death left behind 6 children and a husband.