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State v. Powell

Supreme Court of North Carolina
446 S.E.2d 26 (1994)


Hoke Prevette was attacked and killed by two Rottweilers who were running loose in the streets where Prevette jogged after dark. The dogs belonged to Thomas Powell (defendant). Powell admitted to police that the dogs had gotten loose twice that day and that Powell picked up the dogs at a street intersection about 9:00 p.m. on the night Prevette was killed. Powell was charged with involuntary manslaughter. At trial, two neighbors testified to having seen Powell’s dogs running loose that night and that the dogs were acting aggressively. Other witnesses testified that it was not uncommon to see the dogs loose in the neighborhood prior to Prevette’s death and that the dogs were very aggressive. Powell’s ex-girlfriend testified that Powell physically abused the dogs and routinely let the dogs run free. Animal-control officers had picked up the dogs at least three times before Prevette was attacked. A local ordinance outlawed leaving a dog unattended outdoors, unless the dog was restricted to the owner’s property by a restraining device. Powell was convicted as charged. On appeal, Powell argued that the evidence was insufficient to establish involuntary manslaughter.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Frye, J.)

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