Jury deliberates in dog mauling case

The Associated Press
Wednesday March 20, 2002

LOS ANGELES — The dog-mauling trial that began with a defense attorney crawling on the courtroom floor during her opening statement neared its end with a judge threatening to lock her up if she didn’t sit down and keep quiet. 

Jurors began deliberating the case on Tuesday following a stormy closing rebuttal by the prosecution during which Nedra Ruiz was rebuked for her interruption. “Take your seat now and do not get up again or your next objection will be made from the holding cell behind you,” Superior Court Judge James L. Warren warned. 

Ruiz represents Marjorie Knoller, who is charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and owning a mischievous dog that killed a person. She was walking her two huge presa canario dogs when they mauled neighbor Diane Whipple to death in January of 2000. 

Knoller, 46, could get 15 years to life in prison if convicted. Her 60-year-old husband, Robert Noel, faces involuntary manslaughter and keeping a mischievous dog that killed a person and could get up to four years.