Crime | News | San Francisco

Marjorie Knoller Gets 15 to Life for Dog Mauling Murder

KnollerMarjorie Knoller got 15 years to life for second-degree murder in the chilling San Francisco dog mauling incident that took place in Knoller's hallway in January 2001.

It's the first time in California history a murder conviction has been handed down for dog mauling. Knoller has already served three years related the case after a murder conviction was reduced to involuntary manslaughter in 2002 but the case was reinstated last year after it was found that the judge used the wrong legal standard in overturning the verdict.

The details, as many of you may remember, are horrific. Whipple was mauled to death by Knoller's two 140-pound Presa Canario dogs while returning to her apartment. The dogs were owned by inmates in Pelican State Bay Prison and were in Knoller's custody:

Whipple"Knoller did not call for help, retrieve a weapon or dial 911 while the animal was mauling Diane Whipple for at least 10 minutes, the judge said. A second Presa Canario that Knoller and her husband and law partner, Robert Noel, kept in their apartment may have joined the attack. Whipple, 33, the women's lacrosse coach at St. Mary's College in Moraga, bled to death from at least 77 wounds."

Knoller has never expressed remorse.

Whipple's partner, Sharon Smith, made a 25--minute statement at the trial, according to the SF Chronicle, "looked at Knoller and declared that more than seven years after 'the worst day of my life and the last day of Diane's life, finally there is some justice.'"

Knoller's attorney plans an appeal. After being creditied with the three years served on the prior conviction, Knoller would be eligible for parole in a decade.

Watch a CBS News clip on the verdict, AFTER THE JUMP...

15 years to life in S.F. dog maul death [sf chronicle]

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  1. it's nice to see some justice here.
    this is such a disgusting and cold-blooded case. i can't imagine how hard it must be for her partner sharon, and my heart goes out to her. i'm glad she had the courage to fight this and see it through.

    Posted by: clayton | Sep 23, 2008 9:47:49 AM

  2. justice at last. i feel some sense in relief in that this feels so much like a hate crime. i'm trying to remember since it's been so long, but has this ever been portrayed in the press or in court as a hate crime? does anyone know or remember more details?

    Posted by: michael mohrlang | Sep 23, 2008 10:03:59 AM

  3. Isn't Knoller's husband equally culpable?

    Posted by: Rhea | Sep 23, 2008 10:31:05 AM

  4. I followed the case fairly closely as a dog lover who is outspoken about keeping them leashed and under control. There is no evidence she set the dogs on the woman and influenced them to attack, but she was not merely careless. It was not an accident that these dogs attacked. They had been reported as vicious, had several incidents and were physically stronger than Knoller. Animals like these should never have been allowed out of the house unmuzzled. Knollers callous disregard for public safety and response to the attack were criminal. Investigation about the dogs actual owners and her reasons for having them in her home only confirm the many deeper levels of her poor and dangerous judgement. She is in need of such serious rehabilitation that the criminal justice system is our only hope.

    Posted by: Rikard | Sep 23, 2008 11:14:12 AM

  5. All I have to say about this is, "Good!". That POS woman, and her POS husband should never see the light of day again. Pity that he was paroled. They are nothing better than savages.

    Posted by: troschne | Sep 23, 2008 11:18:36 AM

  6. I've often wondered if the prison connection (dogs owned by inmates) offered any mitigation or excuse to the defendants here. I guess not or we would have heard about it by now. This is second-degree murder. Her punishment is just, considering someone is dead because of her actions.

    Posted by: JJ | Sep 23, 2008 11:59:12 AM

  7. Finally.

    Posted by: gay as life | Sep 23, 2008 12:26:28 PM

  8. whatever happened to nedra ruiz?

    Posted by: chubby hubby | Sep 23, 2008 8:54:46 PM

  9. This reminds me of Sarah Palin's "Pitt Bull" comment. I feel uneasy when people joke about dangerous animals.

    Posted by: john | Sep 24, 2008 1:13:29 AM

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