Knoller up for sentencing again for her role in S.F. dog-mauling

Daily Planet Wire Service
Monday July 15, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO – Marjorie Knoller may be sentenced today for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the San Francisco fatal dog-mauling case –or maybe not. 

Her attorney, Dennis Riordan, has filed papers arguing that Superior Court Judge James Warren cannot sentence Knoller, 47, because prosecutors filed an appeal of his ruling last month tossing out her second-degree murder conviction. Riordan says state case law forbids the judge to act on any related matters, such as the lesser offense of which Knoller remains convicted. 

On June 17, Warren sentenced Knoller's husband and law partner Robert Noel, 61, to the maximum four years for the same charge, and he has already been taken to prison. 

Diane Whipple was killed Jan. 26, 2001 in a mauling involving two large Presa Canario dogs that Knoller and Noel had been caring for in their Pacific Heights apartment. Only Knoller was present walking the animals in the hallway that day, as Noel was out of town. 

But the judge said, in tossing out Knoller's murder conviction last month, that he believed the husband was more responsible for the death and had demonstrated a more troubling attitude afterward. 

Both defendants were indicted in March 2001 and have been in custody ever since. Because of credits for time served, Noel is expected to get out of prison in just more than a year's time, as would Knoller as well if she were to get the maximum sentence. 

A District Attorney's spokesman said prosecutors expect that Warren will carry out the sentence now, denying Riordan's motion and putting an end to the sentencing suspense that began on June 7. That day the judge said he needed more time to weigh Riordan's many arguments that the murder case against his client had not been sufficiently proved and her rights had been violated during trial, when she was represented by another attorney.