The Mauling of 10-Year-Old Shawn Jones

Richmond, California, June 18, 2001. As 10-year-old Shawn Jones rode his new bicycle, three pit bulls attacked him, dragged him into a field, and tore out large chunks of his arms and face. They ripped off several fingers and both of his ears. The owner of the dogs was Benjamin Moore, 27, of Richmond. Seeing the horrifically maimed body of the still-breathing child, Moore left him for dead, gathered up his three dogs, and dropped them off in three different parts of the city, attempting to hide them from police. Moore did not call 911 or do anything to assist the child, who was struggling for his life. Two months after the brutal attack, Moore landed in jail for dealing large quantities of rock cocaine. He pled guilty to federal drug charges, but there were no criminal charges at all for the permanent, disabling injuries to Shawn. Kenneth Phillips is Shawn’s attorney.


The facts

On June 18, 2001, Shawn Jones, a 10-year-old boy from Richmond, CA, was brutally mauled by three pit bulls several blocks from his home. Jones was with friends near the Peres Elementary School playground. When the dogs attacked, his friends attempted to get help. It was about 7:30 P.M.

The owner of the dogs was Benjamin Moore, 28 years old. He lived near the school.

The dogs inflicted horrifying wounds on Shawn. They pulled off several fingers, both ears and a great deal of his face, and many muscles and nerves in both arms.

When the dogs were through with Shawn, Moore looked at him and decided to leave him for dead! He did not call 911. Instead, he cleaned the blood off the dogs, loaded them into his vehicle, and dumped them at three widely separated places around the East Bay.

Shawn was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Oakland. He received operations on a daily basis for about a month. For an entire month, he was in critical condition. Gradually he improved enough to go home. See below for details about his current condition.

For what happened to Shawn, Moore was arrested and charged with two minor misdemeanors. He posted $50,000 bail and was set free pending the outcome of his criminal trial.

While out on bail, however, Moore was arrested again. On August 15, 2001, he and his girlfriend were found with a large supply of rock cocaine. They and another man were prosecuted by the United States Attorney in federal court. Moore now is serving time in federal prison on drug charges. The misdemeanors will not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations on them will expire while he is in prison.

Two of his dogs were found. The third disappeared — set loose somewhere in the Bay Area.


The People and other details

  • Shawn Jones, 10 years old at the time of the attack. He was riding a new mountain bicycle that was his reward for doing well in school.
  • Benjamin Moore. 28 years old. He owned the dogs that mauled Shawn. Seeing the boy nearly lifeless after the attack, Moore left him for dead, did not call 911, but drove his dogs to different neighborhoods and let them go, one by one. After making bail, he allegedly went to work as a drug dealer, for which he was arrested in August 2001. He is serving time in federal prison after pleading guilty to drug charges.
  • Jacinda Lynn Knight. 33 years old. She lived with Moore and was arrested on drug charges at the same time that he was arrested in August 2001.
  • Dara Cashman. Deputy District Attorney. She was the prosecutor in the now-dropped misdemeanor criminal case against Moore.
  • Michael Friedman. Defense attorney in the misdemeanor criminal case against Moore.
  • Johnny Gutierrez. Police officer, Oakland Police Department. He is a narcotics officer. He arrested Moore and Knight on charges of possession of cocaine for the purpose of sale.
  • Peres Elementary School. Shawn Jones was attacked at or near this Richmond school.



Shawn’s injuries

Shawn’s right and left arms, and his face and head, were severely injured. For a month, he was in surgery every day. In one operation, a silver-dollar-sized hole in his face was repaired from the outside, and in another, nerves were taken from his legs and transplanted into his right arm.
The attack left him significantly disabled. His right arm has little feeling and is not very useful. In the first year after the attack, it was impossible for him to button and unbutton clothing, or tie knots; he had great difficulty making his bed, using silverware, and writing. Eating was difficult because he had little feeling around his mouth. In the second year, he could not attend school because of his inability to talk normally, write normally, or keep a normal schedule (he had medical treatment many times each week).

He still does not have ears, but he has plastic ones that he wears from time to time.

Shawn is in a lot of emotional pain. After all, at a very young age he finds himself terribly disfigured and significantly disabled. He also has to be very disciplined and structured, far more than any other youngster of his age. It is difficult for him to bear, and he is fortunate to have special counseling to help him through this.


Shawn’s recovery

Thankfully, Shawn is continuing to improve, although slowly. In 2003, he had four surgeries. For example, on October 8, 2003, he underwent a procedure to close an open wound on the side of his face. He still has problems with that wound, and with others on his face and mouth. All in all, in 2003 he spent two to three months recovering from those operations.
Shawn finally has been able to get out and enjoy some of the things that normal young men his age do. His favorite pastimes include basketball, seeing movies, and attending live football games.

The family is very grateful for everything that the public has been doing for Shawn since his accident in June 2001. The generous donations to Shawn’s trust fund will help provide for him in the future. Disfigured people have to cope with a lot of discrimination, which not only is emotionally painful but also affects their ability to earn a living. They do not get the great jobs, make the big sales, get promoted as often, or even work as many years. The donations will be used to supplement other public programs like MediCal. Hopefully the trust fund will help Shawn to live a nearly normal life.

It is hoped that everyone realizes that Shawn continues to require medical attention and constant care, and that donations will be very important to his future welfare.

A team of dedicated professionals makes decisions about Shawn’s trust monies and legal issues. Team members include Belinda Arnett (his aunt and legal guardian), Catholic Charities of Oakland (case workers), and Kenneth Phillips (attorney).