From left: Helen Marshall, Skye, Andre Robinson and unnamed judge.
Judge Strips Bond
11/03/09 UPDATE: The anticipated Wednesday court hearing regarding Andre Robinson's half million-dollar bond was pushed forward to Tuesday so that the victim, 62-year old Helen Marshall, could be heard at the hearing. WREG TV video captures the terrified victim as she enters and leaves the courtroom, where she had to face pit bull owner Andre Robinson, who has a felony record of robbery and burglary, as well as multiple prior complaints against his vicious dogs.
The judge, who is unnamed in the article, essentially evacuated the half million-dollar bond by dropping it to $50,000. It seems the point of the high bond was to keep this potentially dangerous man behind bars, unable to harm someone else or to "suddenly move," as he did following the incidents with his dogs in Horn Lake, Mississippi. Now, along with dreams of vicious pit bulls "crushing" her bones, Marshall has the added fear of Robinson back in the neighborhood.
11/03/09: Held on Half Million Dollar Bond
Cordova, TN - On Saturday, Shelby County sheriff's deputies arrested the owner of three pit bulls that attacked and injured a Cordova woman and her dog two days earlier, charging him with Aggravated Assault. Andre Robinson, 33, is now being held at the Shelby County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Robinson's dogs attacked Helen Marshall, 62, on Thursday, October 22, as she walked her son's Husky, named Skye, past Robinson's house in the 8600 block of Oak Trail Lane.
This is the first instance of an Aggravated Assault charge -- that does not involve the dog's owner "siccing" his dog on a person -- DogsBite.org has recorded.
Doctors at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis told sheriff's detectives Marshall was bitten more than 50 times on her arms, legs and forearms. She is now recovering at home. Her dog Skye also suffered many wounds and lacerations. According to sheriff's office spokesman Steve Shular, the steep bond was set because of the extensive injuries to Marshall. It was likely also set this high due to past infractions by Robinson and his dogs and new Tennessee State dog law.1.
Zero Tolerance for Dog Attacks
On the same day the above article was published by the Commercial Appeal, an editorial was published by them as well, "Zero Tolerance for Dog Attacks." The editorial outlines the new Tennessee "loose" dog law that was passed in 2007 (See: 44-8-408 or view PDF). Unsurprisingly, the law provides numerous exceptions for owners of loose dogs, for instance "temporary harborers" are excluded2, but due to Robinson's history of not properly restraining his dogs, he is not excluded.
We presume that Robinson is being charged with a Class E felony, which according to the editorial is punishable by one to six years in prison and a $3,000 fine. Under the same statue, if a loose dog kills a person (off the dog owner's property), a Class D felony applies, which is punishable by two to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If the dog has been trained to fight or has previously inflicted serious injury or death upon a person3, the penalties worsen.
The editorial also mentions the horrific -- and preventable -- 1990 death of 57-year old Betty Lou Stidham and the lowly sentence her neighbor, Edwin Hill4, served after his two pit bulls first mauled Hill's own wheelchair-bound mother, in a subsequent attack, tore the leg off Stidham's pet pug, then 6-months later killed Stidham as she walked away from her mailbox. Hill was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and served five months of a two-year sentence.
2Serious and fatal dog attacks frequently occur when the dog is in the hands of a "temporary harborer."
3As in other U.S. states, after a dog kills a person, the State of Tennessee does not mandate the euthanization of the animal.
4Edwin G. Hill, a former Memphis police officer, apparently "sobbed on the witness stand" at his sentencing hearing.
11/14/08: Falls Pit Bull Owner Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Assault
01/12/08: Family Hopes Vigil for Jennifer Lowe Brings Change, Stonger Laws
11/15/07: 2007 Fatality: Jennifer Lowe, Killed by Two Pit Bulls, No Charges Filed