Lower bail request denied in fatal dog mauling case

By Ron Harris The Associated Press
Thursday November 22, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — A judge denied a request to reduce bail for the man who kept two dogs that mauled a San Francisco woman to death, saying Wednesday he considers Robert Noel a flight risk based on alleged connections with the Aryan Brotherhood gang. 

News of a death contract allegedly put out on one of the prosecutors in the case also surfaced Wednesday. Security for assistant district attorney Kimberly Guilfoyle has been increased, her office confirmed. 

Noel’s attorney asked that his client’s bail be reduced from $1 million to $20,000. Superior Court Judge James Warren said he was concerned Noel and his wife Marjorie Knoller could receive money and refuge from members of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist group with a history of violence. 

The couple earlier this year adopted Paul “Cornfed” Schneider, owner of the deadly dogs and, according to prison officials, a member of the gang. 

Noel and Knoller both face involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of Diane Whipple. Knoller also faces a second-degree murder charge after two dogs they were taking care of attacked Whipple in the hallway of the San Francisco apartment building they shared. 

The judge mentioned the alleged death threat on Guilfoyle. Warren said he had learned of “a contract of death on one of the district attorneys” through press reports and rumors, adding that it raised safety concerns. 

The judge said the reports were unconfirmed, but the district attorney’s office took them seriously. 

“There was a threat that came through on Kimberly Guilfoyle,” said Dan Addario, chief of investigations for the district attorney’s office. “We do have steps that we’re taking that involve security.” 

Addario would not say where the threat came from. Guilfoyle was in court for Wednesday’s hearing, but declined comment. 

San Francisco Police Lt. Henry Hunter said police, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and state Department of Corrections were investigating the reported threat. 

“We don’t know how credible this is, but because of the characters involved we have to treat it seriously,” Hunter said. 

Hunter said he was referring to Schneider, who remains jailed in Sacramento County on various racketeering and conspiracy charges from a separate case. 

“He’s doing life without parole for a very good reason,” Hunter said. 

Warren also issued an interim order to keep alive Hera, the remaining dog from the attack, until the defense could present a plan for having a specialist determine whether the dog could be rehabilitated. A police hearing officer has determined that Hera is a vicious and dangerous animal and should be destroyed.