Murder-by-dog conviction reinstated
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2005:
SAN FRANCISCO–The California First District Court of Appeal
on May 5, 2005 reinstated the March 2002 second degree murder
conviction by jury of former San Francisco attorney Marjorie Knoller,
49, for the January 2001 fatal mauling of neighbor Diane Whipple,
after Knoller lost control of two Presa Canario dogs in the hall of
the apartment house where both lived. The jury also convicted
Knoller, and her husband and law partner Robert Noel, 63, of
involuntary manslaughter. Knoller and Noel both drew four-year
prison sentences. Both are now out on parole.
Trial judge James Warren of the San Francisco Superior Court,
threw out the second degree murder conviction. The appellate court
said he erred.
“Justice James Lambden, writing for a three-judge panel,
said Knoller knew that the dog who killed Whipple was a ‘frightening
and dangerous animal: huge, untrained, and bred to fight,”
summarized Associated Press legal writer David Kravets.
“The ruling could send Knoller to prison for 15 years to
life,” added San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Bob Egelko–after
all appeal possibilities are exhausted.
Noted Kravets, “On [previous] appeal, both defendants
argued that the prosecution’s portrayal of them as being white
supremacist sympathizers prejudiced the jury, a claim the appeals
Other dog-related crime
Robert Stevens, 64, of Pittsville, Virginia, on April 21,
2005 was sentenced in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania federal court to
serve 37 months in prison for selling videos of dogfights, as the
first person convicted under a 1999 law against distributing
pornographic depictions of cruelty.
Circuit Judge Charles Graddick of Mobile County, Alabama,
on April 21 sentenced Walter Tyrone Ware, 32, to serve six
concurrent 20-year sentences for dogfighting, plus 20 years for
illegal possession of steroids, and six more months for violating
probation on a convicton for selling crack cocaine.
Twenty-three pit bull terriers, many of them emaciated and
severely injured, were seized from Ware in December 2003.