Riverview, Florida -- No charges are going to be filed in the case of a 4-year-old boy who was killed when he was attacked July 19 by his uncle's two pit bulls. And, a deputy smelled marijuana at the scene but no charges will be filed because none of the drug was found.
Michael Shepard didn't want to speak with 10 News on camera about the state attorney's decision not to file charges in his son's death, but he does say they have hired an attorney. Last week, Shepard told us he blames his family member Billy Fredericks Sr. for the loss, saying he was careless and negligent.
The attack happened about 10:30 p.m. July 19 when Logan and his mother Stephanie walked to the Fredericks' home nearby at 12509 Rhodine Road. Detectives say Fredericks told them he had put the dogs in a pen so they would be able to come inside. But family members say Fredericks didn't leave the animals locked up during the visit but, instead, wanted them be out so they could roam "to protect his property."
Logan ate ice cream and watched cartoons in the family room in the home along with his 15-year-old cousin. That child's mother tells 10 News that family members were talking and celebrating a new business venture. She says they were all just a few feet away in the master bedroom when she says Logan somehow slipped outside away from his cousin and was attacked.
"We have determined that the evidence does not prove the criminal intent required for the charge of child neglect or the charge of aggravated manslaughter," the state attorney said in a letter to the sheriff's office. "While the evidence indicates that the adult caregivers went into a room and left the child in the care of a 15-year-old child, delegation of caregiver responsibility to another person, including a minor, does not necessarily constitute child neglect."
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office now says the responding deputy smelled the strong odor of marijuana when he arrived at the scene and that family members admitted to smoking it, but detectives didn't find any of the illegal drug.
"Even with an admission to smoking marijuana, a charge for possession of marijuana cannot be sustained because no marijuana was recovered from the scene. After reviewing the totality of the circumstances the evidence does not prove culpable negligence in this case," said Mark Ober, the state attorney.
Either way with several pit bulls in the community the tragedy has changed the way some neighbors do things like Rosa Aguirre. She and her young daughters live two doors down from where the attack happened and says she worries about her young daughters so much that she no longer leaves her gate open to her property.
"It's a lot of sadness because they're our neighbors - because he was a little kid of 4 years old - and they won't see him again," she said.
The state attorney notes that adults in the household admitted to smoking marijuana, but because investigators were unable to recover any drugs at the scene, no charges of possession of marijuana would be filed.