Derrick D. Lee

71-Year-Old Woman Mauled To Death While Gardening

Kansas City, KS

July 27, 2006

Derick D. Lee

1 dog dead, 1 emaciated

Kansas City,KS

June, 2004

Original Case information as written on 7/27/06 -  See updates below:

A 71-year old woman died Thursday, July 27th, after being attacked by a pit bull in Kansas City, KSJimmie Mae McConnell was in her garden around 11:30 a.m. when the dog jumped the fence and attacked her. 

Assistant Fire Chief Craig Duke stated that one of the dogs was still on her when the firefighters and paramedics arrived.  They used an axe and pole this they would normally use to pull down ceilings.  Animal Control Officers tranquilized the dog and took it away.  The second dog (not a pit bull) was taken from the neighbor’s home that same afternoon after a search warrant was obtained.

    (Photo courtesy of WJACTV6)

Mrs. McConnell was taken to the University of Kansas Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.  Neighbors stated that she was so badly injured that they could hardly recognize her when she was taken from the garden. They also stated that the dog belonged to a neighbor.

    (Photo courtesy of WJACTV6) 

Gayle McConnell, the victim’s niece was shocked and angry.  She had heard that Pit Bulls can be dangerous, but that people don’t seem to believe it can’t happen to them. She stated she wished people would heed the warning.

Mrs. McConnell was well-liked in the neighborhood and had lived in the area a long time.  She was an awesome cook, and singer as well as a school crossing guard for several years and foster parent for 29 children.  Mrs. McConnell was the mother of 7 children and the wife of the late Johnnie McConnell, a former deacon at Mount Zion Baptist Church. Her son Chris stated his mother had been terrified of the neighbor’s dogs for over a year. The dogs had acted like they wanted to come through the fence.  As she worked in her garden, they would growl and bark aggressively at her.

It was reported that this was not the first time that neighbors have had problems with this neighbor’s dogs.  A representative of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County stated that Animal Control Officers found two Pit Bulls at the neighbor’s home in 2004.  Code Enforcement Officers deemed the neighbor’s home uninhabitable at that time as there are no utilities hooked up inside.

Police have not been able to contact the dog’s owner.  This case is being investigated as a homicide.

Police would not confirm that the neighbor’s dogs were the ones responsible, but other neighbors and family members stated the dogs were from the house next door. Police also stated that they are still trying to determine the dog’s breed – neighbor’s believe them to be Pit Bulls.

Pit Bulls have been banned in Kansas City, KS since 1990.  Still, 100+ pits or pit mixes have been picked up in the city this year.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Division at 913-573-6020 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS

Update 7/28/06:

(photo courtesy of KSHB Local News) Derick D. Lee, age 32 was held on $100,000 bond on one count of involuntary manslaughter in the mauling death of Mrs. Jimmie May McConnell.

Mrs. McConnell’s preliminary autopsy results showed she died of a cardiac arrhythmia brought on by the trauma of the dog attach according to Wyandotte County Coroner Alan Hancock.  In addition she had extensive bites on her limbs and torso, “but not one of the bites ere such that you could say one was responsible for her death”, Hancock added.

Lee of 3106 of Longwood Ave, was interviewed on his way into court for possessing crack cocaine and batter on a la enforcement officer, stated he had lived at the house where the dogs were found but hadn’t been staying there for 3 months.  He would return to feed one of ht4e dogs and the other dog – the one involved in the attack – was a stray that would come up and steal food.  Lee claims he didn’t know who owned the dog and thought it lived in a nearby creek.

(photo courtesy of Chris Oberholtz, the Kansas City Star) Lee was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal pit bull attack that left Mrs. McConnell dead.

Mayor Joe Reardon has issued a crack down on pit bulls after this deadly attack.  The city has opened a hotline to report illegal pit bulls at 913-573-8911.  There is also a 2 week amnesty period for pit bull owners to turn in the banned dogs.  Reardon also stated that since January, 2005, more than 600 dogs that violated the city’s pit bull ban had been seized and 164 citations were issued to people identified as the dogs owners.

Update 8/3/06:

The pit bull hotline has received 76 phone calls, 41 pertaining to pit bull problems.  36 pits had been picked and 19 had been voluntarily dropped off according to the Kansas City Police Department.

(photo courtesy of Garvey Scott, the Kansas City Star) A crowd of pit bull supporters urged a The Neighborhood Development & Housing Committee not to impose breed-specific restrictions as some attack victims asked for a crackdown. 

KCK animal control recommended an ordinance requiring mandatory neutering and microchipping of pit bulls.  City Councilman Alvin Brooks recommended even tougher legislation that would label pit bulls dangerous dogs, which would impose extra dog enclosure and insurance requirements.  The committee will take additional testimony at its next meeting on August 16th at City Hall.  They did not make a decision but did endorse a measure that calls on the city manger to add an additional $350,000 to animal control efforts this year.


Kansas City Star

Seattle Post Intelligence


KSHB local news

The Associated Press

The Kansas City Police Department

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