Police accuse man of hitting dog in head with hammer, fracturing her skull


A man is in jail after being accused of using a hammer to crack the skull of a 2-year-old pit bull named Karma in December, an arrest affidavit said.

Richard James Mizell, 52, was booked into the Travis County Jail around 1 a.m. on a charge of cruelty to non-livestock animals, jail records show.

The incident happened on Dec. 3 after Mizell pulled up to a house and found Karma, who belonged to his sister, tethered in the backyard, the affidavit said.

Mizell’s sister told police she could hear him yelling that Karma did not belong there, and that he was going to kill the dog.

The sister told police she looked out of a window and saw Mizell standing at the edge of the tether’s range swinging the hammer and taunting the dog, according to the affidavit.

When Karma came up on her hind legs to reach Mizell, he smashed the bell of the hammer into her head, the affidavit said.

When police arrived, Mizell told them that Karma attacked him when he was walking to the house.

“Richard claimed he turned to run away from Karma and Karma bit him on the calf and dragged him to the ground,” the affidavit said.

Mizell also told investigators Karma jumped on his chest and was trying to grab him by the face and throat, according to the report.

Austin-Travis County EMS medics checked Mizell out, but found no trace of injuries, the affidavit said, adding that Karma was friendly and docile with all of the officers who arrived at the scene and showed no signs of aggression.

Mizell’s sister surrendered Karma to authorities because she could not afford medical care for the dog.

A veterinarian later confirmed that Karma’s skull was fractured, and that she had hemorrhaging in both of her eyes.

The affidavit said another veterinarian told police that Mizell’s story didn’t make sense because Mizell would have had significant injuries if Karma had attacked him as he said she did.

Mizell is currently being held with bail set at $15,000.

The affidavit said Mizell has been identified by Austin police as a “Top Offender” with 32 total arrests in Austin and 21 convictions for crimes including multiple assaults, drug manufacture and possession, resisting arrest and carrying prohibited weapons.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Community news: Artwork sought for Dove Springs Recreation Center

TRAVIS COUNTY AUSTIN Artwork sought for rec center Art in Public Places, a program of the city of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division, is seeking a professional visual artist, or artist team, to design and fabricate artwork for the Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. An informational meeting will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at...
Body found in house in Deer Creek Ranch in Southwest Travis County
Body found in house in Deer Creek Ranch in Southwest Travis County

Travis County sheriff’s deputies responded Sunday at 10:30 a.m. to a home in the Deer Creek subdivision for a welfare check and found a deceased person. The body may have sat in the home for up to a week, deputies say, and it was in an advanced stage of decomposition when they discovered it. An autopsy will be performed on Tuesday morning, said...
H-E-B issues recall for ground beef packaged Sunday at Buda store
H-E-B issues recall for ground beef packaged Sunday at Buda store

H-E-B has issued a precautionary recall for ground beef sold at its Buda store on Sunday. The recall is issued only for 80 percent lean ground chuck sold on Styrofoam trays that were packaged on Sunday with a time stamp later than 4:30 p.m. and sold at the Buda store, 15300 S IH 35 Frontage Road. Customers can return the product to the store for a...
EXCLUSIVE: Feds arrive to inspect APD fleet in carbon monoxide case
EXCLUSIVE: Feds arrive to inspect APD fleet in carbon monoxide case

Inspectors for Ford Motor Company and investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be on the ground in Austin this week trying to figure out what is causing carbon monoxide to leak into police sport utility vehicles, city officials confirmed to the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV Sunday. The visit will be the second time...
Senate panel OKs mail-in ballot fraud bill

The Senate State Affairs Committee unanimously approved a bill Sunday that would set up safeguards to prevent mail-in ballot fraud in Texas and increase penalties for people who try to steal others’ votes. Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, would require a signature verification process for early ballots, notification...
More Stories