Criminal Justice

Ex-Lawyer Sentenced to 15 Years to Life in Dog Mauling


A former lawyer whose dogs mauled and killed a neighbor has received a higher sentence—15 years to life in prison—in her second sentencing in the case.

Judge Charlotte Woolard of San Francisco Superior Court sentenced ex-lawyer Marjorie Knoller yesterday for the death of Diane Whipple, the New York Times and Associated Press report. A previous judge had sentenced Knoller to four years in prison after reducing her second-degree murder conviction to involuntary manslaughter.

Woolard reinstated the original conviction after the California Supreme Court ruled the first judge applied the wrong legal standard.

During the hearing, Woolard said Knoller never expressed remorse for the attack and appeared to blame the victim during a television interview, according to a Daily Journal story (sub. req.). Woolard said Knoller knew the dogs were aggressive, and during the attack she did not call 911 or grab a weapon to stop it.

“Indeed, she left Ms. Whipple in the hallway to die,” Woolard said. “She has blamed the victim and held the dogs in higher regard than humans.”

Knoller’s lawyer, Dennis Riordan, said his client did feel remorse and she would appeal. “In our view,” Riordan told the New York Times, “the notion that she said, ‘Rather than staying home and cooking dinner, I’ll go out and possibly kill somebody,’ is unsupported by the evidence.”

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