Pit Bull Owner Died in Custody

The woman convicted in the fatal attack died while in custody

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    A San Diego woman, convicted in the fatal dog attack of a 75-year-old neighbor, died before she was sentenced.

    Alba Cornelio died March 15 while in custody at a San Diego hospital. She was receiving treatment for ongoing medical issues. San Diego County sheriff's deputies would not reveal the cause of death citing inmate privacy.

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    She and her daughter Carla Cornelio were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and death from a mischievous animal for the attack June 18, 2011 that resulted in the death of Emako Mendoza.

    Mendoza, 75, was mauled by the Cornelios' two pit bulls when she stepped outside of her home to get the morning newspaper.

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    Alba Cornelio, 39, and her 19-year-old daughter, Carla, never wanted to hurt anybody, defense attorney Donovan Dunnion said. The two could spend three years and eight months in prison and are each being held on $350,000 bail. (Published Thursday, June 30, 2011)

    Carla Cornelio was sentenced last week to four years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the Mendoza family. The amount of restitution was not yet determined.

    At the time of the attack, the dogs were euthanized by animal service officers along with their three-week old puppies.

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    James Mendoza said his wife, Emako, likely lost a leg and will possibly lose an arm after being attacked by two pit bulls on the morning of June 18. (Published Monday, June 20, 2011)