San Luis Obispo County prosecutors filed another criminal charge against a former Grover Beach police officer in connection with a December 2016 dog attack that killed one person and injured another.
At a June 12 hearing, Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagner announced that the office had filed an amended criminal complaint against Alex Geiger that included a new charge of involuntary manslaughter. Previously, Geiger had been charged with felony counts related to a dangerous "at large" animal causing a death and injury.
"The new charge was added because we felt the facts would sustain a conviction," SLO County Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham wrote in an email response to questions from New Times.
Geiger was employed as a Grover Beach Police Officer when his two dogs got loose and attacked an elderly woman named Betty Long on Dec. 13, 2016. Long's neighbor, 64-year-old David Fear, attempted to help her and was fatally wounded by one of the dogs. Fear died three days after the attack.
Geiger resigned from the department shortly after the attack. Both dogs were taken from him, and the one believed responsible for killing Fear was euthanized. Fear's friends and family recently pushed for the city of Grover Beach to approve a memorial in his honor.
Court records showed that Geiger already pleaded not guilty to the original two felony charges. He did not enter a plea to the new manslaughter charge at his June 12 hearing. Instead, a judge granted a continuance so Geiger and his attorney, John Jackson, could review the new charge and additional documents and evidence gathered by prosecutors.
Geiger is scheduled to appear in court again on July 18 for another hearing. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.