DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The owner of pit bulls that dragged a 4-year-old Detroit boy from his mother and killed him is returning to court for a key hearing.

A judge must decide whether there’s enough evidence to send 41-year-old Geneke Lyons to trial on second-degree murder and other charges. A hearing is planned for Tuesday.

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Xavier Strickland was walking with his mother in Detroit when they were attacked by pit bulls Dec. 2 on Baylis Street, near the Lodge Freeway. Police had to shoot the dogs to free the boy’s body. Three were killed; a fourth was euthanized.

Xavier Strickland (Handout photo)

Xavier Strickland (Handout photo)

Defense attorney Francisco Villarruel says the dogs were dangerous, not the owner.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy has called it a “harrowing example of irresponsible pet ownership.”

“The evidence in this case will show that these dogs saw this child as meal, and we believe that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged actions of the defendant in this case ‎rise to the level of murder in the second degree,” Worthy said.

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Separately, a civil lawsuit has been filed by Xavier’s parents against Lyons. Xavier’s father, Clarence Strickland, said he wants to see justice.

“The pain I feel, I want him to feel the same way. But he wouldn’t ever because it wasn’t his child, so he ain’t going to feel the way I feel in my heart,” he said. “His 4-year-old boy didn’t get chewed up by dogs, so he ain’t going to feel my pain.”

Lucille Strickland, who said she relives the horror of the attack every day, claims Lyons knew the dogs were dangerous but did nothing to keep the community safe.

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