Jury Reaches Verdict in Dog Mauling Trial

The jury in the San Francisco dog mauling trial reached a decision Thursday on the fifth and final charge, and a judge scheduled an afternoon hearing to read the verdict.

Robert Noel, 60, and his wife, Marjorie Knoller, 46, are charged in the death of neighbor Diane Whipple, 33, who was fatally mauled on Jan. 26, 2001, outside her apartment by at least one of two huge Presa Canario dogs kept by the couple.

Knoller was charged with second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and keeping a mischievous dog that killed a person. Noel, who wasn't home at the time of the attack, faced only the latter two charges.

Knoller faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder; Noel could face up to four years in prison if convicted of the charges he faces.

On Wednesday, their second day of deliberations, the seven-man, five-woman jury reached a decision on four of the counts after hearing a reading of Noel's testimony before the grand jury that indicted the couple.

They asked to hear his responses on questions about the aggressiveness of his dogs and specific incidents in which neighbors claimed they were lunged at by the huge dogs.

The verdicts were sealed pending the jury's final decision.

"When the jury comes back with all the verdicts we will read all the verdicts," Superior Court Judge James L. Warren said.