February trials scheduled in fatal attack by dogs - WNEM TV 5

February trials scheduled in fatal attack by dogs

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Craig Sytsma Craig Sytsma

A Michigan couple facing murder and other charges in the fatal mauling of a jogger by two of their dogs will stand trial in February.

The Detroit Free Press reports separate trials have been scheduled for Sebastiano Quagliata and his wife, Valbona Lucaj, beginning February 3 in Lapeer County Circuit Court. They face up to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

46-year-old Craig Sytsma was mauled to death in July while jogging near the couple's home in Metamora Township.

Police initially responded to the scene after dispatchers reported a shooting. It was then learned the shots were fired by neighbors in an attempt to scare the dogs away from the man.

Sytsma had no identification on him when he was found. Sytsma was transported to McLaren Lapeer Regional Medical Center where he later died from injuries sustained.

Sytsma was employed by Eltro Services in Oakland County's Oxford Township.

According to people who live nearby, these dogs have attacked before, and at least twice.

Meanwhile, 911 tapes captured the chaotic moments from the scene shortly after the dogs attacked, killing Sytsma.

"There's a man that was attacked by a dog, correct?" asked the Lapeer Co. 911 dispatcher.

"Yes, two dogs," the caller said.

"Two dogs. Is he conscious?" the dispatcher asked.

"He is conscious, he's rolling around, and he's in, he's in, it looks like terrible pain, he's bleeding badly," explained the caller.

The caller told dispatch the dogs finally released when a neighbor shot a gun at them. Once the dogs scattered, an EMT, also a neighbor, did what she could to try and save Sytsma's life.

But it was too late. Sytsma died just an hour after arriving at the hospital.

The couple's trial is set for February.

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