Earlier this month, Marjorie Knoller, who had been convicted of 2nd-degree murder in 2002 for a dog mauling case, was denied parole at the California Institute for Women in San Bernardino. The denial of parole was welcomed by family members and friends of Diane Whipple, who lost her life when Knoller’s dogs attacked her. Prosecutors were also relieved to hear the news, and most surprisingly, Knoller herself may have been relieved as she told parole commissioners that she did not feel she was ready to be released. She will be up for parole again in three years.
Long term impacts
dog bite lawyers in Los Angeles understand the long-term impacts that dog bites often have on the victims and their family members. Diane Whipple tragically lost her life. Sharon Smith lost her partner. Colin Kelly lost his sister. Kelly and Smith both spoke at the parole hearing and voiced their opposition to granting her parole. They could be seen wiping tears away throughout the hearing as 17 years later; they were still heartbroken over their loss.
Diane Whipple’s attack
Knoller and her husband were attorneys who were caring for two Presa Canarios that belonged to a man in prison. At trial, witnesses testified that prior to the attack, Knoller and her husband failed to control the two dogs and refused to muzzle the dogs. One witness testified that he was bitten by one of the dogs one year prior to the attack on Diane Whipple.
In 2001, Whipple was walking in a hallway in her apartment building when the Presa Canarios, whom Knoller and her husband were caring for, attacked her, resulting in her death. Knoller, according to witness testimony, watched the attack and failed to intervene. Knoller’s husband was not home at the time of the accident. Knoller’s husband was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 4 years in prison. As previously mentioned, Knoller was convicted of 2nd-degree murder.
Wrongful death claims
Diane Whipple’s mother filed a wrongful death claim against Knoller, her husband, and the property management company in order to recover for damages she suffered as a result of losing her daughter. Eventually, her claim was settled for an undisclosed amount.
Sharon Smith made headlines when she moved to file a wrongful death claim against Knoller, her husband, and the property management company as well. At the time, same-sex marriages were not legal in California, and that meant that Smith was not permitted by statute to file a wrongful death claim. She eventually won the right to proceed with her claim, and she later settled it for an undisclosed amount.
Fortunately for California residents, dog bite and dog attack victims do have legal remedies to pursue. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to a dog attack, contact an attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg to discuss your dog bite case and resulting injuries. When dogs attack, injured victims deserve to be compensated.