On October 3, a jury in Young County, Texas sentenced Stephens County, Texas residents Jack Smith and Crystal Watson to seven years each in prison after 7-year-old Breckenridge resident Tanner Monk died of the personal injuries he sustained from being mauled by a pit bull. A fine of $5,000 was also issued to each.
Smith and Watson are the first two people to be convicted under “Lillian’s Law,” a new Texas statute that provides for a charge of attack by dog resulting in death.
Jack Stiles, the widower of the woman the law was named for, Lillian Stiles, was in attendance at the sentencing. He said that his wife, who died in an attack by a pack of dogs in Thorndale, Texas in 2005, would be “very pleased.” He also said that he hopes the verdict will raise awareness of the law.
Roxanna Griffin, the mother of Tanner Monk, said that she was mostly pleased with the outcome, though she believed seven years was not a long enough sentence for Smith. Though she said that she believed Watson “showed some compassion” and “if she could have changed things, she would.”
According to Smith’s attorney, he plans to appeal.