Parole denied for Marjorie Knoller, convicted in San Francisco's notorious 2001 dog-mauling case

ByEd Walsh KGO logo
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Marjorie Knoller, convicted in 2001 SF dog-mauling case, denied parole
Three people who were close to victim Diane Whipple spoke emotionally as they told the parole panel why Knoller should stay incarcerated.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A California parole panel denied parole late Wednesday for the woman convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the notorious 2001 San Francisco dog-mauling case.

At the conclusion of a nearly four-hour hearing, the two-member panel of the Board of Parole Hearings said Marjorie Knoller, 67, presented a danger to society if released. They cited her prison record which included two disciplinary actions against her.

A jury convicted Knoller and her husband Robert Noel of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Diane Whipple. Knoller, who was with the couple's two Presa Canario dogs during the attack in a Pacific Heights apartment building, was also convicted of second-degree murder. Prosecutors argued that the couple ignored warnings that their dogs were dangerous.

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Three people who were close to Whipple spoke emotionally as they told the panel why Knoller should stay incarcerated. Whipple's former partner, Sharon Smith, as well Whipple's aunt, Roberta Whipple, and Cayce Kelly, the wife of Whipple's brother Colin Kelly spoke before the panel. The hearing was delayed by three hours and Kelly said that her husband was too upset to speak by the time the hearing got underway.

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office formally opposed parole and Allison Macbeth, Assistant Chief Attorney at San Francisco District Attorney's Office, told the panel that Knoller represents a threat to the community and has not taken responsibility for her actions that led to the attack on Whipple.

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When asked by the parole commissioners if she would own a dog if released, Knoller, immediately responded with an emphatic "No."

When asked about the devastation caused by Whipple's death, Knoller responded, "I've always felt responsible for Diane's death, in terms of not being able to prevent it or help do more to prevent (the male dog) Bane from doing what he did and stripping her completely naked in that hallway. But Diane seems to have gotten lost and her loss seems to have gotten lost in the publicity that ensued regarding this incident."

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Smith fought back tears as she told the panel, "There's no way to measure the full impact of that loss. It is with deep sadness that I share with you some of the impact this tragedy has had on my life. For years I was in shock. Much of my life became unrecognizable," she said.

Knoller was stone-faced, showing no emotion as the parole board told her that they were denying her parole. Noel, her husband, died in 2018 of heart failure. When she was allowed to speak at the beginning of the trial, Knoller's voice choked with emotion when she told the commissioners that she didn't learn that Noel had died until three months after he died.

The parole board told Knoller that she would be eligible for parole again in three years.

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