A Kentucky woman has pled guilty to murder after a brutal attack involving her pit bull resulted in a man's death.
In the wee hours of the morning on January 10, 2020, police were called to the Conway, Kentucky, residence of Melissa Wolke after an unnamed neighbor became alarmed by the sound of vicious fighting. When the neighbor came over to assess the situation, he saw Wolke sitting on top of her roommate, a 55-year-old auto mechanic named Donald Abner, and assaulting him physically.
The neighbor also overheard Wolke encouraging her pit bull to attack. "Good boy, get him," the neighbor heard Wolke tell her pit bull, Denali.
When police arrived, they found Wolke and Denali still attacking Abner. They eventually had to shoot and kill the dog because Wolke refused to call him off or otherwise subdue him. She later told police that Denali had once been trained for fighting, but had been friendly and obedient since she had adopted him.
"[Wolke] appeared to have blood on her hands and feet and had a large clump of hair in her hands that was consistent with the victim's hair," a police report at the time claimed.
The neighbor also reportedly filmed the attack on his phone, but quickly deleted the video of it because it made him "sick to watch." Police were never able to recover the video from his phone.
An investigation of the crime scene showed no signs of a struggle and no drugs, though there was an empty liquor bottle.
When police attempted to question Wolke seven hours after they had brought her to the detention center, she was still too intoxicated to speak with them, Kentucky State Police Detective Ryan Loudermilk later testified in court. After she revived, she admitted that she struggled with alcohol abuse and that she sometimes blacked out after consuming too much alcohol.
She also appeared distraught about the incident, crying and repeating the phrase, "Oh my God! I went 'redneck' on" Abner, a man she claimed had been a longtime friend and who had been living with her at the residence for three months before his death.
A coroner determined that Abner died of asphyxiation at the scene. He also had several facial lacerations and a broken bone in his neck, but the coroner did not believe Abner sustained those injuries from a dog bite.
Last month, Wolke, now 40, pled guilty to murder in the death of Abner, and on Monday, she received a sentence of 20 years in prison.
Wolke will appear in court once again in March on unrelated misdemeanor charges.