By Philip Jankowski
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - A woman charged with manslaughter in connection to a pit bull mauling in 2007 that left her 11-year-old son dead received one year of probation Wednesday after pleading to a lesser charge.
Misty L. Lovitt pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault Wednesday in connection to a separate dog attack than the one that led to Seth Lovitt's death. Lovitt struck a deal with the Bell County District Attorney's Office, eliminating a felony charge in exchange for testimony against her mother, Brenda Ellen Parker, Seth's grandmother.
Parker was the owner of the pit bull that killed Seth Nov. 6, 2007, at a Killeen home in the 2900 block of Fairlane Drive. She is charged with manslaughter and is set to face trial July 18.
Parker sat in the 27th District Court Wednesday with family members and her attorney while Lovitt pleaded to the misdemeanor charge. Assistant District Attorney Nelson Barnes, who will prosecute Parker, told the court Seth's father, Jeff Lovitt, requested the charge against Misty Lovitt be dropped.
After the hearing, Barnes said the district attorney's office recently received new evidence that limited Lovitt's culpability.
Parker's attorney John Galligan expressed his dissatisfaction with the plea deal after the hearing.
"The things the state will sometimes do to get evidence. It never ceases to amaze me," Galligan said.
Galligan said he had been preparing to face a jury trial with Lovitt and Parker as co-defendants on Monday. He said he only became aware of the plea deal at the last minute.
"Everyone led me to believe we were going to trial Monday," Galligan said.
Parker may now face an additional investigation.
Lovitt will have to be deposed by the DA's office and Galligan to prepare for her testimony.
Seth was killed by the pit bull while playing with his younger brother in their home. As the two ran through the home, the dog leapt from the couch and latched onto Seth's neck biting him until Lovitt and Parker were able to pull the dog off of him.
He later died in a hospital.
In 2009, Lovitt and Parker were indicted on manslaughter charges after evidence showed the family was aware of the dog's violent tendencies.
Parker could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter. She has also been charged with recklessly causing bodily injury to a child.
Galligan said Parker told him after the hearing the only one now at peace was the pit bull. It was euthanized and decapitated for a rabies test following the attack. The test came back negative.
Contact Philip Jankowski at email@example.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.