Woman pleads not guilty in suspected fatal dog attack

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CONWAY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A woman charged with murder after State Police say she beat a man and encouraged her pit bull to attack the victim pleaded not guilty Monday.

During a hearing in Rockcastle District Court, 38-year old Melissa Wolke pleaded not guilty to all charges including, murder, menacing, resisting arrest, alcohol intoxication in a public place and disorderly conduct.

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Bail was discussed for $25,000, but it was denied because the coroner has not yet determined the cause of death. Wolke is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Investigators say when they were called to the backyard of a home on Pug Lane in the Conway community of Rockcastle County on Friday, they found Wolke, of Mount Vernon, on top of a man punching him. They say she was commanding her pit bull to attack the man at the same time.

That man was identified as 55-year-old Donald W. Abner, of Richmond. The Rockcastle Coroner pronounced Abner dead at the scene.

KSP says Wolke had to be tazed to get her off the victim and that she refused to call off her dog. As a result, the dog had to be shot and killed, according to KSP.

A preliminary hearing will be held on January 22.

There is a funeral on Friday for the victim, Donald Abner. There’s also a GoFundMe page that was created by Abner’s niece to help pay for funeral expenses.