Man wanted in deadly dog attack arrested

TULSA, Okla. — Update 12/03/2020:

Benjamin Ryan Spence has been booked into Tulsa County Jail and will now face charges of second-degree murder after his dogs mauled a man to death. Police have been actively searching for Spence for over three weeks after issuing a warrant on Nov. 10.

Spence, who was arrested the day before his 35th birthday, was reportedly located by police at a home near East 21st Street and South 129th East Ave on Thursday.

When officers arrived, they approached the home and “made contact” with Spence, according to the report.

The report says Spence opened a side garage door in an attempt to run away. Officers reportedly gave directions for Spence to exit through the front door of the home, not the side.

A short burst of pepper balls were reportedly deployed by an officer at the wall around the door but did not hit Spence.

The report says that Spence then listened and exited the front door as he was originally told, and taken into police custody without incident.

Spence was booked into jail at 5:40 p.m.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

Update 11/10/2020:

Police have charged Benjamin Ryan Spence with second-degree murder after his dogs mauled a man to death. A warrant has been issued for the Spence’s arrest and police are actively searching for him.

After charges were file against the dog owner, FOX23 learned new details about the incident.

Contrary to what the homeowner, Champaign Walker, told us about Wickham trying to break in, according to the affidavit, Walker told police Wickham came to her house looking for his cellphone.

Walker told police she stayed in bed, and her boyfriend Benjamin Spence, answered the door.

Walker says a fight broke out, and another witness said she saw Spence point towards Wickham and then the dogs attacked him.

Walker says she remembers Wickham begging for Spence to get his dogs, but Spence did not react.

Spence is also being charged with assault with a deadly weapon, because according to the affidavit, “He tried to drop a television set on the head of Curtis Wickham as he languished on the ground from mortal wounds.”

Police say a neighbor tried to intervene by striking the dogs with a wooden plank, but they wouldn’t stop. Another neighbor fired a shot into the air, and the police were called.

Walker said she demanded Spence drag Wickham into the house and separate him from the dogs, police found Wickham in critical condition in the living room.

He died later of his injuries.

Wickham’s family says they’re happy Curtis is receiving justice and his name is being cleared.

Original 10/22/2020:

The mauling happened at a west Tulsa home.

Police said they were called to a home near West Admiral Blvd. and N. 49th West Ave. around 6 a.m. after someone heard gunshots.

Officers found 26-year-old Curtis Wickham who had been mauled by dogs very severely, said Lt. Brandon Watkins with the Tulsa Police Department.

The man was taken to the hospital where he later died, Watkins said.

Friday, FOX23 spoke with members of Wickham’s family.

Interviews with neighbors and witnesses at the scene showed that Wickham was at the residence to contact a former girlfriend, and a fight broke out between Wickham and the homeowner. During the fight, the homeowner’s three pit bulls attacked Wickham, according to police.

Witnesses said a gunshot was fired and homicide detectives are still attempting to find out where the gunshot came from.

The dog/home owner was transported to Detective Division and released pending further investigation. The investigation is still on-going at this time.

Police are working the death as a homicide and animal control was called to take the dogs.

John Efird, a neighbor, said he heard a woman screaming and a man was standing swinging something while three dogs were circling him and saw another man that looked hurt.

“Another guy was slumped over the fence, and I didn’t see him move or anything," Efrid said.

Efrid said neighbors have called police about the dogs before.

“They even killed my girlfriend’s daughter’s chicken, which is buried back there,” Efrid said.

Everyone who was involved in the incident is being questioned, Watkins said.

“We have everybody that we are aware of right now, who are players in this crime,” Watkins said. “We’re in the process of trying to figure out exactly what happened, who did what.”