Woman gets 20 years for setting pit bull on man, killing him

A Kentucky woman was sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison after admitting to ordering her pit bull to attack a man she was assaulting, resulting in the man’s death.

A spokesperson for the Rockcastle County Circuit court clerk said that Melissa Wolke, 40, agreed in October to plead guilty to murder in connection with the Jan. 10, 2020, death of 55-year-old Donald Abner.

That day, police received a 911 call about a woman “jumping up and down” on a man and assaulting him while her pit bull mauled him, an arrest citation states,WKYT said at the time.

Neighbors told authorities they saw Wolke telling the dog, “Good boy, get him,” the station reported.

“The way I look at it, she used her animal, a pit bull, as a weapon to help her in this altercation,” Kentucky State Police Trooper Scottie Pennington told the station.

Police said Wolke refused to call off her dog when officers ordered her to command the animal to stop, WTVQ reported at the time.

Melissa Wolke
Melissa Wolke

A Kentucky State Police release at the time stated that a state trooper fatally shot the dog in order to render aid to Abner, who suffered bite wounds on his face, neck and head. He died at the scene.

NBC15, citing police, reports Wolke said she had a history of blacking out on alcohol, and that Abner, with whom she had been friends for 20 years, was staying at her home for about three months prior to his death.

According to the outlet, Wolke told police that her dog was a former fighting dog but had not been violent during the time she owned him.

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