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Jury hears closing arguments in Grover Beach dog attack trial

Posted: 6:57 PM, Apr 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-11 22:14:37-04

A jury heard closing arguments from both the prosecution and defense Thursday at the trial of a former Grover Beach police officer.

Alex Geiger is charged with involuntary manslaughter and two counts of failing to maintain control of a deadly or dangerous animal.

Geiger’s dog, Neo, attacked two of his Grover Beach neighbors back in 2016.

David Fear, 64, was killed. Betty Long, who was 85 at the time, was seriously injured.

The courtroom was full on Thursday as both sides presented their closing arguments.

Concerns were raised about prosecutor Steve Wagner’s argument. Both Geiger’s attorney, Melina Benninghoff, and Judge Jacquelyn Duffy questioned Wagner’s arguing tactics.

The judge said Wagner was evoking sympathy with the jury when she previously told the jury not to use sympathy, bias, prejudice or public opinion to influence their decision.

Benninghoff objected three times during Wagner’s argument, saying he was using facts not in evidence. The judge agreed each time.

In his closing argument, Wagner touched upon the temporary fix of Geiger’s backyard fence, saying Geiger was negligent in securing the hole in the boards.

Wagner argued Geiger previously knew the risks and liability he faced having Neo as a retired K9 and was indifferent to the potential consequences.

He also addressed bias in witness testimonies.

Benninghoff took her time replaying videos of Neo playing with other family dogs, like Geiger’s second dog, Rolo.

She also called out bias in witness testimonies and the pressure of the district attorney’s office to try this case.

Both attorneys asked the jury to consider the facts and evidence present or not present in the case.

The trial reconvenes at 9 a.m. on Friday when the prosecution will likely get a rebuttal.

Previous coverage:
K-9 trainer testifies on Day 1 of Grover Beach dog attack trial
Former officer takes the stand in deadly Grover Beach dog attack trial
Defense questions Geiger and K-9 trainer in deadly Grover Beach dog attack trial