Mother convicted in fatal pit bull attack dies

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Alba Cornelio

Alba Cornelio, seen during her trial, suffered from leukemia and a heart condidtion.

SAN DIEGO — Authorities Tuesday confirmed the death of a 41-year-old woman who was convicted, along with her daughter, of charges stemming from a fatal attack by their two pit bulls on a 75-year-old next-door neighbor.

Alba Cornelio was convicted last month of involuntary manslaughter and other counts in the death of Emako Mendoza. The defendant’s 21-year-old daughter, Carla, was also found guilty and sentenced last week to four years in prison, but Alba Cornelio wasn’t sentenced because she was hospitalized with leukemia and a heart condition.

The day of the verdict, she cried out and later had to be taken to the hospital. She died on Saturday, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

At Carla Cornelio’s sentencing, Superior Court Judge Richard Whitney said he was convinced by trial testimony that at least one of the canines was malnourished.

“The animals were neglected,” the judge said. “The animals were starving. The animals were poorly housed. The animals were feeding themselves.”

A female pit bull involved in the attack had “prominent” bones and the remains of two opossums in her digestive system when euthanized, indicated she had been hunting for food, the judge said.

Witnesses testified that the dogs got through a gap in a fence, ripping a hole near a metal gate that the victim’s husband had installed.

Prosecutor Makenzie Harvey told jurors that the defendants knew their dogs were dangerous because the canines had attacked a man and his puppy six months before the attack on Mendoza, which occurred in her Paradise Hills back yard garden the morning of June 18, 2011.

The victim had to have her left leg and arm amputated. Doctors later amputated her right leg.

Mendoza was 76 when she died on Christmas Eve of that year from complications due to her injuries.

The prosecutor described an enclosure in the Cornelios’ backyard constructed to separate the dogs from the human inhabitants as a “fortress.”

“These pit bulls were not pets,” Harvey said.

She said the Cornelios “were criminally negligent in allowing these dogs to get out and to attack” the¬†¬†victim.

It was the the second time in 30 years that county animal services officials pursued a felony case against a dog owner.


  • Mel Johnson

    I have an extremely difficult time feeling sympathy for those who abuse the helpless. And, this woman clearly abused her innocent animals.

  • MaxGold

    WoW. Mel Johnson, A Lady is brutally and violently killed by Pitulls and you feel sorry for the dogs. You can always rely on a Pitbull Nytter to show their lack of humanity and skewed perception of the world. Anyway, RIP Emako Mendoza, like the many many victims of Pitbull attack, you didn't deserve to die like this.

    • guest

      what the judge was implying was..NOT only did these hispanic/latina no-brain, low-lifes allow their PBulls to get out and attack/kill various neighbors…BUT they ALSO neglected them TOO!!

      he was piling on the counts against them…

  • SteveT

    Those dogs weren't abused or neglected. The responding officers said they appeared to be well-fed and they had adequate shelter, and neighbors said the same. I'm disappointed the judge would attempt to excuse what those land-sharks did by claiming they were "starving."

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for the death of this illegal alien. If authorities had done their job years ago — before she gave birth to an "anchor baby" (her daughter) — and sent her back to Mexico, Ms. Mendoza wouldn't have been ripped apart by those 4-legged demons!

  • elitist

    These atrocities will continue to occur like clockwork until citizens LIKE YOU get organized and active and demand a ban on pit bulls in their communities.

    A pit bull is an IED that happens to take the form of a dog.

    It is a weapon, not a pet.

    Well treated, well-trained, much loved pit bulls also rip their owners and others to shreds without provocation, without warning.

    That is what they were bred to do. It is genetic. Don't believe anyone who tells you differently.

    P ait bulls – including the so-called "Staffordshire Terrier", which is just a pit bull rebranded to fool the public – need to be banned.

    GET ORGANIZED, lobby your Congressman, your Mayor, your police department.

    Let the ASPCA and Humane Society know their pro-pitbull propaganda sickens you.

    visit, inform yourself, demand change.

    The pit nutters are very organized and determined, they will win until we show as much determination to rid the world of these MONSTERS.

    Start making noise, start making trouble, and don't stop until pit bulls are banned in your state!!!

    • PitMom

      Everything you're saying is completely false. Pits were never bred to be aggressive with humans. That trait is a result of inbreeding and irresponsible ownership. Pits are very high energy dogs. Owners need to realize that and give their dogs an outlet to release that energy. Dogs get frustrated just like people do and take it out on the wrong person, just like people do

      • jon

        You nutters always say people who post FACTS about pit bulls are lying but you cannot prove it besides linking to a pit bull site where the lie was created.

  • guest

    in re: Alba's 'leukemia and a heart condition'…totally BS….
    just a classic way to garner sympathy…now she's dead??

    chop up her carcass, feed it to some Para Hills pit bulls…that's justice.

  • ban pits

    All pit bulls are dangerous and should not be out around other innocent children and people! If you want that breed stay locked up with it! Innocent children and people are getting hurt or killed by these dang dogs everywhere . I blame it on the owner and thedog .

  • SteveB

    Life is hard enough as it is without having to worry about guns and pit bulls. Let's get rid of them!

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.