In January 2001, Knoller was walking Bane, her Presa Canario, in her apartment complex when her neighbor, Diane Whipple, was entering her apartment.
Bane charged at Whipple and jumped on her. Knoller’s other dog may have also attacked the neighbor. The woman suffered 77 wounds, including a fatal puncture to the neck.
Knoller was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2002 and she served half of her four year sentence and was paroled in 2004. Knoller’s husband was also charged with involuntary manslaughter because he left the dogs with his wife even though he knew that his wife couldn’t control the dogs. The trial judge reduced Knoller’s sentence to manslaughter because even though he said that Knoller knew that her dogs were dangerous, she “had not known her conduct posed a high probability of death.”
Now, in an unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court is ordering a Superior Court Judge to restore a jury’s second degree murder conviction. The state court overruled the original ruling saying that: “Knoller, or any other defendant responsible for unintentional but fatal injuries, can be convicted of murder if they acted with conscious disregard of the danger to human life.”
Now, a new judge will review the trial record and decide if Knoller will be charged with manslaughter or murder.