Man convicted in dog-mauling case says he fears for his life

The Associated Press
Monday April 01, 2002

SAN JOSE — The man recently convicted along with his wife in the dog-mauling death of their neighbor last year said he is not surprised by his conviction, but accused the prosecutors and judge of political maneuvering 

Robert Noel also told the San Jose Mercury News in an interview from San Francisco Jail Friday that expressing remorse would not have made a difference in his or his wife’s convictions. Noel and his wife, Marjorie Knoller, have also been criticized for appearing insensitive to the death of Diane Whipple. 

“I saw where the jurors said, ’They didn’t show any remorse,’ but by definition remorse is an admission of guilt,” Noel told the Mercury News. “Besides, what could I possibly say to this woman’s family? That their daughter had just died in a horrible fashion? What relevance would there be to any words I could say?” 

Noel also said he and his wife fear prison officials may try to have them killed. The couple, who are lawyers, have filed many lawsuits on behalf of inmates and have criticized California prison officials. 

The couple’s two large Presa Canarios fatally mauled 33-year-old Whipple in her apartment building nearly 14 months ago. Knoller and Noel, who kept the dogs for two California prison inmates, claimed they had no idea the dogs would turn into killers. 

Knoller, who was present when the dogs attacked, was convicted of second degree murder. She was also found guilty, along with Noel, who was not there during the attack, of the lesser charges of manslaughter and having a mischievous dog that killed someone. 

Noel, 60, has been in jail for a year since the attack. He faces four years in prison.