Wednesday, 6 October 2010

California Dog Owner to Spend 15 Years to Life in Prison in Fatal Attack

A San Francisco Court of Appeal has affirmed the conviction of a woman in a fatal dog bite attack that killed lacrosse player Diane Whipple. The court upheld Marjorie Knoller’s conviction of second-degree murder. She is now looking at spending 15 years to life in prison.

Diane Whipple was Marjorie Knoller’s neighbor. On January 26, 2001, she was walking into her apartment, when she was attacked by the two dogs. Witnesses would later confirm that Knoller had been present at the scene and had insufficient supervision of the animals. In the ferocious attack that followed, Whipple suffered approximately 77 bites all over her body. She suffered massive blood loss, and consequently died.

The case took several unexpected turns. In 2001, a grand jury indicted both Marjorie Knoller and her husband Robert Noel for involuntary manslaughter. In addition, Marjorie Knoller was indicted for second-degree murder. The San Francisco Superior Court ordered a new trial for Knoller, but that order was reversed by the Court of Appeal. Ultimately in September 22, 2008, a trial court ruled that Knoller be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Last month, the First District Court of Appeal ruled that Knoller had acted in conscious disregard of the danger to human life on the day of the attack.

It wasn't the first time that the animals had displayed an aggressive temperament. There had been several instances where the animals had growled, barked and displayed aggression and a ferocious temper even before the fatal attack that killed Diane Whipple. Both dogs were put down after the attack.

The attack that killed Diane Whipple was a ferocious one and received wide attention around the country. Los Angeles dog bite lawyers believe that pet owners have a responsibility to keep pets that can cause that kind of damage to a human being as far away from people as possible.

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