Alex Donald Jackson, 29, was charged with the murder of Pamela Devitt, 63, on Thursday. Jackson's pit bulls mauled Devitt to death while she walked in her neighborhood, the Little Rock section of Los Angeles, earlier this month.
District Attorney spokeswoman Jane Robison told the L.A. Times that it is likely the dogs had attacked before.
"We believe there was evidence that he was aware the dogs were vicious and they have attacked before and he knew of the danger they posed," she said.
Devitt, a retired office manager, was bitten 150 to 200 times by Jackson's four pit bulls. She died while being rushed to the hospital.
Jackson is the owner of eight dogs, and detectives found blood that matched Devitt's on the coats and muzzles of four of his dogs. The dogs were immediately removed from Jackson's home.
"There's no way I can get the brutality of this out of my head," Devitt's husband, Ben, told the L.A. Times. "The fact that there's animals out there roaming around with that kind of killer instinct, it's just kind of something I can't shake."
When asked, authorities admitted they had a tough time trying to remember the last time a mauling case led to a murder charge. The most recent one was the 2001 trial of Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel, a San Francisco couple who were charged with murder after their 140-pound dog mauled and killed their neighbor, according to ABCNews.com.
Knoller, the dog's owner, was found guilty of second-degree murder in that case. Her husband was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Knoller was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Jackson, who also faces charges of growing marijuana in his home, is being held on $1 million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday