Restoration of Conviction for

Murder Sought in Dog Attack

SAN FRANCISCO -- California prosecutors have asked a state appeals court to reinstate the murder conviction of a San Francisco woman whose dogs mauled a neighbor in the doorway of her apartment in 2001.

The California attorney general's office, in papers filed on Friday at a state Court of Appeal, said the judge in the case erred by throwing out the second-degree murder conviction of Marjorie Knoller.

Knoller, 47, was sentenced in July to the maximum term of four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

If Superior Court Judge James Warren had let Knoller's murder conviction stand, she could have faced a sentence of 15 years to life.

Knoller's husband and law partner, Robert Noel, 61, was sentenced to four years in prison for manslaughter. He was not present when the couple's two 120-pound Presa Canario dogs savaged and killed Diane Whipple, 33, a lacrosse coach.

A spokesman for state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said Warren exceeded his authority and "made three principal errors" by ruling the murder verdict was not supported by evidence that Knoller knew the dogs were likely to kill.

Knoller and Noel have appealed their convictions.

* NEW YORK -- A memorial to the victims of the TWA Flight 800 explosion is in danger because the Long Island beach it stands on has been rapidly eroding. The black granite memorial to the 230 victims of the 1996 crash was 100 feet from the Atlantic Ocean when it was completed last year, but now it is just 50 feet away, Newsday reported. Officials are considering dredging 200,000 cubic yards of sand from a nearby inlet to secure the memorial. The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed relocating it entirely.

* KIPAHULU, Hawaii -- A Louisville chemistry teacher and his 8-year-old daughter were missing and presumed dead after a flash flood in O'heo Stream plunged them down a 184-foot-high waterfall. Kevin Brown, 39, and his daughter, Elizabeth, were swept away on Thursday by a 6-foot-high surge of water above Makahiku Falls, according to Haleakala National Park officials.

* FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A military contractor was accused of selling the Defense Department thousands of faulty parts. Nestor Daniel Lopez, owner of now-defunct Damon Industries Inc. of Pompano Beach, was indicted Friday on 92 counts of submitting false documents to the military, making false claims to the government and wire fraud. Prosecutors say his failure to heat-treat parts could have led to plane crashes and weapon breakdowns.

* MILWAUKEE -- A man who admitted hiding deadly cyanide in a Chicago subway tunnel wants to withdraw his guilty pleas to separate federal charges that he conspired to knock out power lines, burn buildings and damage computers in Wisconsin. Joseph Konopka, 26, who calls himself "Dr. Chaos," had been scheduled for sentencing on Friday in federal court in Milwaukee. Instead, his attorney filed a motion to withdraw the guilty pleas.

* FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- A bus carrying soldiers to a Fort Drum firing range crashed just outside the military post, injuring all 37 reservists aboard and their civilian driver, military officials said.

-- From News Services