SAN FRANCISCO – The defense attorney for the woman convicted in the dog mauling death of her neighbor has acknowledged in court that she might have made mistakes during the trial.
Nedra Ruiz didn't specify what her mistakes might have been, but she conceded that they might have contributed to Marjorie Knoller's conviction.
"If I made mistakes, I'm happy to admit them," Ruiz said at a Friday hearing seeking a new trial. "And, as a matter of fact, considering how insufficient the evidence was, I have to think that perhaps my mistakes contributed to this terrible, terrible unjust verdict."
Knoller was convicted March 21 of second-degree murder after her 120-pound dog killed college lacrosse coach Diane Whipple.
Ruiz' theatrics during the trial included shouting, kicking the jury box and waving her arms. During opening statements, Ruiz got down on all fours to re-enact what she described as Knoller's attempts to protect Whipple from the attack in her San Francisco apartment building Jan. 26, 2001.
Ruiz said Friday she supported Knoller's decision to replace her with Dennis Riordan, a San Francisco lawyer and veteran of more than 100 murder case appeals who has asked for a new trial.
Knoller was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter and keeping a mischievous dog that kills and could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Her husband, Robert Noel, was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter and mischievous-dog charges, and could be sentenced to four years.
Superior Court Judge James Warren agreed Friday to delay Knoller's sentencing until June 7. Noel's sentencing was also delayed.