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WAXHAW, N.C. The family of a 5-year-old girl who was killed by two pit bulls more than a year ago in Waxhaw won a wrongful death settlement in court this week.

Waxhaw police say the two dogs attacked 5-year-old Makayla Woodard and her great grandmother, 67-year-old Nancy Presson, in the family s front yard on January 12, 2011.

A judge approved a $20,000 wrongful death settlement in court this week. The money comes from Michael Gordon s homeowner s insurance policy and ends the civil suit against Gordon. However, Gordon, 24, still faces involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the incident.

Woodard was bitten several times on the neck by the dogs, who were later captured and killed by police. Presson was bitten in the arm trying to save her granddaughter.

Neighbors had complained many times about the two dogs roaming free and believed the tragedy could have been avoided.

According to Waxhaw's town ordinance, dogs must be contained on a property by a fence or invisible security system. The Waxhaw Police Chief told reporters at the time the reason it s difficult to enforce the leash law is because there is no Animal Control officer.

Gordon admitted to NewsChannel 36 the dogs often managed to hop the fence.

The sentencing guidelines for involuntary manslaughter could allow Gordon, if convicted, to serve as little as 13 to 16 months. However, his criminal history could increase that time behind bars.

NewsChannel 36, working with our partners at the Charlotte Observer last year, conducted a thorough check of Gordon s criminal past. Court records reveal a long list of charges, including assault, breaking and entering, larceny, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Gordon is due to appear in court on February 16.

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