Dog-mauling case mom won’t be retried

The San Francisco mother whose trial on child endangerment charges in her son’s dog-mauling death ended in a hung jury will not face a second trial.

In a five-minute hearing Monday, from which Maureen Faibish had been excused, prosecutor Linda Moore said all of the admissible evidence had been submitted and that it was “possible, even likely,” that a second trial would end in another hung jury.

Both the prosecution and defense agreed during the trial that on June 3, 2005, Maureen Faibish left her son Nicholas Faibish, 12, alone in the family’s Inner Sunset district home while Maureen took Nicholas’ sister, Ashley, to her school picnic. The family was to meet Nicholas’ father, Steven Faibish, in Oregon, where he had already moved to start a new job.

Nicholas was told to stay in the family’s combination garage-family room, where a PlayStation video game console was set up.

The trial hinged on whether Maureen Faibish knew Nicholas would wander upstairs to where the family’s two 80-pound pit bull terriers, Rex and Ella, were. Nicholas had a learning disability and was known not to follow directions, special education experts testified, but Steven Faibish said he was obedient. “Nicky would mind me,” he said.

Ella, the female pit bull, had been in heat, and Nicholas had been bitten by an increasingly agitated Rex before being left alone with the dogs, according to testimony on both sides. Maureen Faibish returned home on June 3 to find Nicholas’ body in an upstairs bedroom.

On July 31 of this year, after deliberating for two days, the jury of eight women and four men voted 10-2 in favor of an acquittal on the felony charge and 7-5 in favor of a misdemeanor conviction.

Outside the San Francisco Superior courtroom where Tuesday’s hearing took place, Maureen Faibish’s lawyer, Lidia Stiglich, said she was”very relieved for the Faibish family.”

“I’m confident the District Attorney’s Office gave this matter due consideration,” Stiglich said. “Right now I want to call Maureen to let her know it’s done.”

“The death of Nicholas Faibish was a terrible tragedy, and this case was difficult for all those involved,” Assistant District Attorney Linda Klee wrote in a statement on behalf of the prosecution. “We were compelled to charge the case based on what we believed to be clear and strong evidence.” She indicated that the District Attorney’s Office had met with jurors and revisited the evidence and transcripts of the trial before deciding not to move forward with the case.

amartin@examiner.com

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