A judge today convicted a 55-year-old Concord man whose pit bulls fatally mauled his 2-year-old step-grandson four years ago on charges of child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. Steven Hayashi was found guilty in a Martinez courtroom this afternoon on the charge of felony child endangerment under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death, a charge of involuntary manslaughter and a charge of owning vicious animals in connection with the death of 2-year-old Jacob Bisbee.
Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge John Kennedy handed down the decision today, some seven months after the trial against Hayashi began. The defendant waived his right to have the trial heard by a jury. Hayashi faces up to ten years in prison and is set to be sentenced in June. Deputy District Attorney Mary Knox said the defendant had agreed to watch Jacob and his 4-year-old brother at their shared Concord home on the morning of June 22, 2010 while his wife Leticia slept.
Instead, Hayashi decided to leave the house to play tennis with his teenage son, leaving the two boys unsupervised with three of his five pit bulls in the home’s unlocked garage, according to the prosecutor. While he was gone, Jacob went into the garage, where he was ripped apart by the three dogs. He was taken to John Muir Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
Knox argued during the trial that Hayashi knew the dogs were dangerous and especially aggressive toward children but did nothing to protect the children from the dogs – a charge Kennedy agreed with. She said the defendant was well aware that Jacob and his brother could open doors and that just days before his death Jacob had left the house alone and was wandering around the neighborhood. His wife constantly told him to get rid of the dogs, Knox said. The judge today also cited statements from Hayashi’s family members on the day of the mauling about the dogs being dangerous.
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