Pit bull owners arrested, charged in homeless woman’s death

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by Shern-Min Chow / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 1 at 10:22 PM

HOUSTON -- The owners of a pit bull that attacked and killed a homeless woman are now in jail, facing felony dog attack charges.

If convicted, 26-year-old Tiara Thomas and 34-year-old Timothy Coleman could face up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Star’s fate was sealed long ago. The brown dog was put down after attacking Christina Bell. Bell’s good friends remember that January 5 night clearly.

“I was in the apartment writing her a poem,” said Steven Thompson. “At the end of the second part (it read), ‘We’ll see each other in heaven.’ A minute later my friend came and told me she’s dead.”

Neighbor LaCole White said the couple deserves to be in jail.

“They (the dogs) tasted meat before,” said White. “They tasted blood before. I seen the dogs fighting before.”

Investigators have no reports of dog fighting, but they did confirm Star was a dangerous dog.

“We have evidence the dog had killed another dog and been involved in two other attacks against people,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson.

Neighbors reported the dogs were often loose.

It’s taken six months, but authorities now have the evidence they need.

“They swabbed its muzzle and got blood and have been waiting for the DNA results which did come back to complainant Christina Bell,” said Anderson. “We like dogs. I have a dog, but as a pet owner you have to be responsible.”

A recent change in the law makes it easier to file dog attack charges. Authorities no longer have to prove a dog is dangerous, but only that the owner is not securing the animal.

The couple appeared in court Tuesday night. Bond has been set at $10,000 for both of them.

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