- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) A sobbing defendant testified yesterday that she struggled to pull her biting dog off her neighbor and threw her own body atop the victim to protect her from the ferocious and ultimately deadly attack.
Marjorie Knoller insisted she did everything she could to stop the attack: "I was screaming. I was trying to get Bane to respond to me."
Mrs. Knoller is charged with second-degree murder in the January 2001 mauling death of Diane Whipple, a 33-year-old lacrosse coach. Mrs. Knoller and husband Robert Noel are also charged with involuntary manslaughter.
On the witness stand yesterday, Mrs. Knoller, 46, said Whipple was lying under her.
"She moved in a manner where she struck me in the right eye with her fist or hand, and once she did that, Bane bit her on the neck. That was the first time I saw any blood," Mrs. Knoller said.
"I told her to stay down 'He's trying to protect me,'" Mrs. Knoller continued. "I was screaming, 'Bane, no. Bane, stop. Bane, off,' and he wouldn't respond to anything."
Mr. Noel's attorney rested his case without putting Mr. Noel, 60, on the stand. Both defendants are lawyers.
Mrs. Knoller said the attack began as her neighbor arrived at the door of her San Francisco apartment and began putting groceries inside. The trial was moved to Los Angeles due to extensive publicity.
Mrs. Knoller said she did not know why her massive dog began pulling her down the hallway. Other witnesses have said the victim screamed in terror, but Mrs. Knoller said she couldn't "recall a lot of anything that was heard other than my screaming."
She testified she punched the dog in the face and put her hand in its mouth. The dog began to bite her but released her hand, she said.
"It kept going on and on like that, and it kept getting worse and he wouldn't listen," she said.
Meanwhile, the couple's second Presa Canario got loose and began running through the hallway barking. Mrs. Knoller did not describe Hera participating in the attack.


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