Five years each suspended in plea bargain
WAYNESBORO, Virginia––Penny L. Bachlor, 65, and Stephen Christopher Kachmar, 60, on February 3, 2023 escaped jail time with plea bargained sentences for the January 29, 2022 Rottweiler mauling death of seven-year-old Olivia Grace Floyd.
Both defendants entered guilty pleas to reduced charges ten days before a scheduled five-day jury trial on the original charges was to begin on February 13, 2023.
The Waynesboro County grand jury on May 13, 2022 indicted Bachlor, grandmother of Olivia Grace Floyd, and Kachmar, the victim’s step-grandfather, for five offenses each, including non-capital murder, involuntary manslaughter, child abuse causing serious injury, child cruelty resulting in injury, and keeping a vicious dog causing serious injury to a person.
Could have received 70 years each
If convicted on all counts, Bachlor and Kachmar could each have been sentenced to serve 70 years in prison.
Instead, Bachlor pleaded guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge, and to felony child endangerment.
Kachmar pleaded guilty to the charge of keeping a vicious dog causing serious injury to a person.
“Both were sentenced to five years in prison with all five years suspended, giving them no time behind bars,” Brad Zinn of the Staunton News Leader reported. “They were each placed on three years of probation and cannot own a dog during the probationary period.”
Parents’ cases pending
The Waynesboro County grand jury also indicted Olivia Grace Floyd’s parents, Alicia Rene Floyd, 38, and Brooks Anthony Floyd, 40, for alleged child abuse and child endangerment.
Waynesboro County prosecutor David Ledbetter told Zinn that those cases are also expected to be resolved through plea bargains before the February 13, 2023 trial date.
Technically, Alicia and Brooks Floyd could each be sentenced to five years in prison, but this would be unlikely in view that Bachlor and Kachmar, more heavily charged, both walked on suspended sentences and probation.
Named Ranger, the Rottweiler who killed Olivia Grace Floyd was acquired by adoptive grandfather Stephen Christopher Kachmar as a birthday present to himself in 2017.
Ranger was raised by family members from puppyhood.
Despite that upbringing, Ranger on September 11, 2020 reportedly pulled away from a woman who was walking him on a leash to maul a 23-year-old Waynesboro man who was walking near the owners’ home. The victim in that case was said to have suffered permanent scarring on his chest.
Wrote Zinn, “Waynesboro Commonwealth’s Attorney David Ledbetter said the canine had attacked several family members as well.”
Trainer issued repeated warnings
In January 2021, a year before Olivia Grace Floyd was killed, Zinn continued, summarizing testimony from Ledbetter, “a trainer from Positive Paws, a Stuarts Draft business that trains dogs, told [Bachlor and Kachmar] the dog needed to be euthanized.
“Two months before the girl died, the same trainer reiterated in November 2021 that the dog needed to be put down because of escalating aggression, Ledbetter said.”
Instead of euthanizing Ranger, Bachlor and Kachmar “cordoned off their living room with a dog gate,” Zinn said.
The trainer told them that was dangerous because Ranger “had taken to guarding the area,” Zinn added. The trainer advised that Ranger “should never be around children unless leashed.”
“Ignored the trainer’s advice”
But Bachlor and Kachmar “ignored the trainer’s advice.”
Ranger was finally euthanized two days after killing Olivia Grace Floyd.
Olivia Grace Floyd, according to Ledbetter, was “terrified” of Ranger.
Nonetheless, parents Alicia and Brooks Floyd left her and her younger sister at the Bachlor and Kachmar home on their way out of town for the evening.
“Bachlor, who was the only adult home at the time, gave authorities two slightly different versions about what happened,” explained Zinn. “She initially told a police officer that she let the child into the living room and the dog immediately attacked her.
“Bachlor later told a hospital official she had given Olivia permission to open the gate to watch television in the room. When she opened the gate, the Rottweiller grabbed her by the arm and dragged her to the ground. Bachlor was injured in an attempt to save her.”
“Either opened the gate or let the child open it”
Assessed Ledbetter, “She either opened the gate or let the child open the gate.”
Ranger, who reportedly weighed 122 pounds, easily overpowered Oliva Grace Floyd, who weighed only 60 pounds, and tore into her throat and head.
Three of the four family members who were criminally charged were health care professionals, who for that very reason might have been expected to recognize the potential risk in allowing a Rottweiler with serious bite history to be anywhere near children––and, for that matter, in keeping a Rottweiler at all.
Alicia Floyd had for almost 17 years been a registered nurse at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisburg, Virginia.
Brooks Floyd was a nurse practitioner in Staunton, Virginia.
Penny Bachlor had for more than 23 years been a nursing supervisor at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Stephen Christopher Kachmar, also known on social media as Chris Nitemare Kachmar, married into the family on July 4, 2018, bringing Ranger with him.
Olivia Grace Floyd was the first U.S. dog attack fatality of 2022.
The final toll for 2022 came to 62: 41 by pit bulls, 12 by dogs never identified, four by German shepherds, three by Rottweilers, and one each by Cane Corso, Dogo Argentino, and Dogue de Bordeaux.
Rottweilers have killed 120 Americans and Canadians since 1982, second only to the 604 killed by pit bulls.