Dog owner sentenced 15 years to life

September 22, 2008 7:04:21 PM PDT
Nearly eight years and many judges later, Marjorie Knoller has been sentenced to 15 years to life for the infamous dog mauling death of her San Francisco neighbor. It's a case that made national headlines as the first of its kind in California.

Marjorie Knoller's second degree murder conviction was re-instated by Judge Charlotte Woolard last month.

Knoller went back to jail that day and on Monday was sentenced for the crime, 15-years to life.

"It was so outrageous, the conduct was so outrageous that it warranted a second degree murder conviction for the first time in California history for this type of behavior," said Amy Haddix, the Deputy Attorney General.

The judge said Monday that Knoller is not truly remorseful for the vicious dog mauling death of her neighbor, Diane Whipple. Knoller's Presa Canario dogs attacked Whipple in the hallway of their San Francisco apartment building in January of 2001.

The trial was moved to Los Angeles where a jury found Knoller guilty of second degree murder, but trial Judge James Warren reduced the murder conviction to manslaughter. After review by the state Supreme Court and Judge Woolard, the jury's verdict and the sentence that goes with is, have been reinstated.

Whipple's former partner, Shraon Enlow Smith says it wasn't the sentence, but the conviction that mattered to her.

"It doesn't matter to me if its five years of 500 years or she dies in prison. The most important thing is she was found guilty of murder which is exactly what this was," said Enlow Smith.

Knoller's attorney Dennis Riordan says the rulings against her have been politically driven. He plans to appeal, but won't pick his odds for winning.

"It depends on whether we get a judgment that's controlled by law or controlled by San Francisco politics," said Riordan.

Jim Hammer was the original prosecutor.

"Twelve total strangers black and white, young and old, every kind of person you can imagine in Los Angeles who had no political stake in this, said, 'You know what? This is a murder case,'" said Hammer.

Knoller's husband Robert Noel was also convicted of manslaughter in 2002. He was in the audience in the courtroom on Monday, but declined to speak with reporters.

With time already served for manslaughter, Knoller should be eligible for parole in about 12 years.

Read Heather's Back Story: Robert Noel makes an appearance


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