Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #297 Going to the Dogs

MP3 One Seg­ment
NB: This RealAu­dio stream con­tains FTRs 297 and 298 in sequence. Each is a 30-minute broad­cast.

In Jan­u­ary of 2000, Diane Whip­ple, the coach of the wom­en’s lacrosse team at St. Mary’s col­lege, was mauled to death by two 120-pound Pre­sa Canario dogs at her res­i­dence in San Fran­cis­co. (The rel­a­tive­ly rare Pre­sa Canario is a breed that is adapt­ed to fight­ing and secu­ri­ty activ­i­ty.) As inves­ti­ga­tion of the case pro­ceed­ed, a num­ber of strange and dis­turb­ing details began to emerge.

1. The dogs belonged to two San Fran­cis­co attor­neys, Robert Noel and Mar­jorie Knoller, who are mar­ried. Inves­ti­ga­tors soon deter­mined that the attor­neys were car­ing for the dogs on behalf of two of their clients, who were mem­bers of the Aryan Broth­er­hood, a pow­er­ful, white suprema­cist gang based in cor­rec­tion­al insti­tu­tions. “The dog that killed a San Fran­cis­co woman had a long his­to­ry of vicious­ness and was secret­ly owned by two Aryan Broth­er­hood prison gang mem­bers as part of an under­ground scheme to breed and sell ani­mals while in max­i­mum secu­ri­ty at Pel­i­can Bay [a Cal­i­for­nia max­i­mum-secu­ri­ty prison], offi­cials said. At the time of Fri­day’s fatal attack on Diane Whip­ple, the 120-pound Pre­sa Canario dog, Bane, was being kept by the inmates’ attor­neys, Robert Noel and Mar­jorie Knoller of Pacif­ic Heights, as was anoth­er dog, Hera. . . . Author­i­ties said Pel­i­can Bay inmates Paul ‘Corn­fed’ Schnei­der and Dale Bretch­es were inves­ti­gat­ed by state prison author­i­ties last year and found guilty in Feb­ru­ary of run­ning a dog-breed­ing scheme while in the max­i­mum-secu­ri­ty hous­ing unit at the prison.” (“Prison gang Duo Linked to Dog that Killed Woman” by Jax­on Van Der­beken; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 1/30/2001; p. A1.)

2. Even­tu­al­ly, it turned out that Schnei­der (38 years old) was the cou­ple’s recent­ly adopt­ed son. “News that the lawyers whose dog mauled a San Fran­cis­co woman to death have adopt­ed the ani­mal’s pri­or owner—a prison inmate and a mem­ber of the Aryan Brotherhood—has vet­er­an fam­i­ly attor­neys shak­ing their heads in dis­be­lief. Adult adop­tions are not unusu­al, but when Robert Noel, 59, and Mar­jorie Knoller, 45, became the par­ents of 38-year-old Paul John ‘Corn­fed’ Schnei­der, now serv­ing time in Pel­i­can Bay for aggra­vat­ed assault and attempt­ed, it turned a trag­ic sit­u­a­tion into a bizarre one. Adop­tion lawyers and schol­ars say they have nev­er heard of a lawyer adopt­ing an adult client, a sit­u­a­tion that rais­es a spec­trum of eth­i­cal issues. ‘I don’t know what’s going on in this dog case,’ said Nordin Black­er, a promi­nent San Fran­cis­co fam­i­ly lawyer. ‘This seems par­tic­u­lar­ly strange.’ ” (“Lawyers’ Adop­tion of Inmate Stuns Legal Experts” by Har­ri­et Chi­ang; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 2/1/2001; p. A20.)

3. The case was to become stranger still. After being charged with sec­ond-degree mur­der, Noel and Knoller pro­ceed­ed to dri­ve at very high speed to the rur­al res­i­dence of a friend and client, and were tick­et­ed by pur­su­ing police. “As the grand jury delib­er­at­ed, Noel and Knoller head­ed north on Intes­tate 80 in a maroon Chevro­let Impala. Under­cov­er San Fran­cis­co police in unmarked cars fol­lowed close behind, but [San Fran­cis­co D.A. Ter­ence] Hal­li­nan would not say why author­i­ties ordered the sur­veil­lance. A Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol offi­cer stopped Noel in Wood­land at 4:29 p.m. after he report­ed­ly made sev­er­al unsafe lane changes while dri­ving through south­ern Yolo Coun­ty at speeds report­ed­ly top­ping 90 mph. ‘Mr. Noel was very cor­dial and did­n’t seem to be too upset by the inci­dent,’ said CHP Sgt. Willie Brooks. Noel was issued a tick­et for reck­less dri­ving. Before head­ing off, Noel told the San Fran­cis­co offi­cers where he was head­ed, said Lt. Hen­ry Hunter. The cou­ple arrived at a ranch owned by their friend and client James Pat­ton in Corn­ing, a small Tehama Coun­ty town about 170 miles north of San Fran­cis­co, short­ly after 6 p.m. . . . Three days after the attack a judge final­ized the cou­ple’s adop­tion of Paul ‘Corn­fed’ Schnei­der, a 38-year-old con­vict serv­ing a life sen­tence at Pel­i­can Bay State Prison.” (“Mur­der, Manslaugh­ter Charges in Dog Attack” by Jax­on Van Der­beken; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 3/28/2001; p. A8.)

4. As the case became ever stranger, indi­ca­tions emerged that there may have been a sex­u­al dimen­sion to the attor­neys’ rela­tion­ship to their clients. “What’s more, prison offi­cials said Hal­li­nan’s inves­ti­ga­tors found nude pho­tos of Knoller in Schnei­der’s cell while search­ing for evi­dence.” (Idem.)

5. Sub­se­quent arti­cles indi­cat­ed at the pos­si­bil­i­ty of bes­tial­i­ty. “The doc­u­ments, includ­ing affi­davits for search war­rants of the cou­ple’s Pacif­ic Heights apart­ment, sug­gest that author­i­ties sus­pect­ed sex­u­al abuse of the dogs by the cou­ple. Inves­ti­ga­tors the­o­rized that pos­si­ble sex­u­al abuse of the ani­mals may have con­tributed to the attack on Whip­ple. But offi­cials said yes­ter­day that it appears found lit­tle to sup­port that the­o­ry. Yet, accord­ing to one affi­davit, Pel­i­can Bay Prison Sgt. Joe Akin report­ed find­ing ‘a let­ter dis­guised as legal mail addressed to (inmate Paul) Schnei­der’ that dis­cuss­es ‘sex­u­al activ­i­ty between Noel, Knoller and the dog Bane.’ Noel and Knoller are Schnei­der’s attor­neys and adop­tive par­ents. Akin report­ed that he saw ‘numer­ous pho­tos of Knoller pos­ing nude with fight­ing dog draw­ings’ among the prop­er­ty of Paul ‘Corn­fed’ Schnei­der and cell-mate Dale Bretch­es. Both inmates are artists, and have made the Pre­sa Canario dogs the sub­jects of many of their works. Akin also report­ed that he ‘dis­cov­ered com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Noel and Knoller to Schnei­der that described sex­u­al activ­i­ties between Knoller and Noel and includ­ed pho­tos and draw­ings of dogs and fight­ing dogs’ as well as a pho­to of a male dog’s gen­i­tals.’ ” (“Killer Dogs Had Attacked Blind Woman” by Jax­on Van Der­beken; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 3/302001; p. A19.)

6. Noel’s back­ground also raised some inter­est­ing ques­tions about the case. Noel worked for the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency, in addi­tion to the Depart­ment of Jus­tice. “For five years, dur­ing col­lege, he worked at the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency, devel­op­ing sur­veil­lance pho­tos among oth­er work. In 1969, he became a tax lawyer for the Depart­ment of Jus­tice in the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion. By 1981, now moved to San Diego, he joined Rogers & Wells, a pri­vate San Diego firm run, in part, by a Nixon asso­ciate. His wife at the time worked in ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tion.” (“Own­ers of Killer Dog Aban­doned Con­ven­tion­al Career Paths” by Dan Reed and Michael Baze­ley; San Jose Mer­cury News; 2/3/2001; p. 7A.)

7. It would not be unrea­son­able to ask whether Noel may still have some con­nec­tion to NSA, or some oth­er intel­li­gence agency. While at Rogers & Wells, he worked with an attor­ney who had pre­vi­ous­ly rep­re­sent­ed C. Arn­holt Smith, one of Richard Nixon’s prin­ci­pal finan­cial back­ers. He had worked oppo­site that attor­ney (Mitch Lath­rop) while work­ing for the Nixon Jus­tice Depart­ment. “Lath­rop was impressed: Bob Noel was bare­ly 34 years old, fresh from his stint in Wash­ing­ton, dis­patched to clean up after the fail­ure of U.S. Nation­al Bank. For some­one try­ing to mas­ter the art of tri­al work, this was lit­i­ga­tion heav­en. ‘It was like some­thing out of a grade‑B nov­el,’ said Lath­rop, a San Diego attor­ney whose firm rep­re­sent­ed the bank’s own­er, C. Arn­holt Smith. ‘Every­one want­ed to depose Noel’s client, the Comp­trol­ler whose audi­tors had gone through the bank records. Bob’s role,’ said Lath­rop, ‘was to pro­tect the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment.’ Lath­rop asked Noel in 1981 to join him at the San Diego office of Rogers & Wells, head­ed by William Rogers, attor­ney gen­er­al under Eisen­how­er and Nixon’s sec­re­tary of state. Noel han­dled big-name clients, earn­ing good mon­ey to sup­port Karen, the red-haired woman he’d mar­ried the day after Pres­i­dent Kennedy was shot, and their three kids.” (“Sto­ry of Torn Fam­i­ly, Estranged Son May Offer Insight into Actions in Maul­ing Case” by Patrick May; San Jose Mer­cury News; 3/29/2001; p. 18A.)

8. An odd coin­ci­dence enabled Noel’s son by his first mar­riage to escape prison him­self. “One night in 1983, a San Diego police offi­cer pulled up at the front door with the boy. ‘The offi­cer was going to write up a report the next day, which meant Rob would have entered the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem.’ It nev­er hap­pened. In a bizarre inci­dent, Noel said, the offi­cer was mur­dered lat­er that night.” (Idem.)

9. Both Noel and Knoller rep­re­sent them­selves to the media as cham­pi­oning the down­trod­den. Their choice of clients (in addi­tion to the Aryan Broth­er­hood mem­bers in the case dis­cussed here) seems odd in light of their rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the media. “. . . [they] start­ed tak­ing cas­es involv­ing guards accused of wrong­do­ing at Pel­i­can Bay.” (Idem.)

10. Inter­est­ing­ly, guards at Pel­i­can Bay have been accused of col­lab­o­rat­ing with Aryan Broth­er­hood mem­bers, whom they alleged­ly used as enforcers with­in the insti­tu­tion. At the same time that the Whip­ple death made head­lines, the Aryan Broth­er­hood were alleged to have con­spired to mur­der Ari­zona prison offi­cials. “The Aryan Broth­er­hood prison gang has an ‘ongo­ing plan’ to kill Ter­ry Stew­art, state pris­ons direc­tor, and oth­er cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers, accord­ing to a Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions intel­li­gence report, writ­ten late last year. The Octo­ber 18 report, obtained by The Ari­zona Repub­lic, says mem­bers of the white-suprema­cist orga­ni­za­tion are mount­ing a ter­ror cam­paign in hopes that the depart­ment will over­turn a pol­i­cy requir­ing the per­ma­nent iso­la­tion of gang mem­bers.” (“Prison Offi­cials on Aryan Death List” by Den­nis Wag­n­er; The Ari­zona Repub­lic; 2/4/2001; p. A1.)

11. One of the ques­tions posed in the broad­cast con­cerns the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Robert Noel’s back­ground work­ing in the cor­ri­dors of pow­er (NSA, Depart­ment of Jus­tice, etc.) might beto­ken ongo­ing involve­ment with some aspect of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. That, in turn, might sug­gest that his and Knoller’s activ­i­ties in con­nec­tion with the Aryan Broth­er­hood might entail more than meets the eye. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that some of the alleged illic­it sex­u­al activ­i­ties might involve the mak­ing or under­ground bes­tial­i­ty or pornog­ra­phy mate­ri­als and/or sex­u­al black­mail of indi­vid­u­als who use such mate­r­i­al is not one to be too read­i­ly cast aside.

12. It is inter­est­ing to spec­u­late about some of the pos­si­bil­i­ties that may arise from George W. Bush’s faith-based ini­tia­tives pro­gram. One of the insti­tu­tions that Bush wants to empow­er to expand its work with­in pris­ons is the orga­ni­za­tion of con­vict­ed Water­gate bur­glar Charles Col­son. “But for Mr. Bush, this idea is more than an abstrac­tion. He points to the prison pro­gram here, just out­side Hous­ton, as a mod­el of the sort of thing he would like to see spread across the coun­try. The pro­gram, called Inner­Change, is the brain­child of Charles Col­son, the con­vict­ed Water­gate felon who him­self found reli­gion while serv­ing time. It attempts to reha­bil­i­tate with an inten­sive two-year indoc­tri­na­tion in bib­li­cal teach­ings and prop­er Chris­t­ian behav­ior. Near­ly 200 inmates, most­ly drug deal­ers and thieves, are enrolled in this sev­en-days-a-week reg­i­men designed to set them right in the months before they return to soci­ety. As gov­er­nor of Texas, Mr. Bush helped per­suade state-prison offi­cials to embrace the pro­gram in 1997.” (“Some Texas Pris­on­ers Get Religion—16 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week” by Jim Van­de­Hei; Wall Street Jour­nal; 1/26/2001; p. A1.)

13. In that same con­text, it is inter­est­ing to note who the direc­tor of Bush’s pro­gram is going to be. “And now John DiIulio, the author of the tough-on-crime man­i­festo Let ‘Em Rot, who false­ly proph­e­sied a ‘ris­ing tide of juve­nile super­preda­tors,’ has been made the first direc­tor of the brand-new White House office of Faith-Based and Com­mu­ni­ty Ini­tia­tives.” (“Leg­is­la­tion: The 107th Con­gress: A Look Ahead, A Call to Action” by Kyle O’Dowd; The Cham­pi­on; March/2001; p. 47.)


One comment for “FTR #297 Going to the Dogs”

  1. I think The Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Rights has tak­en up the cause of a
    White Aryan Broth­er­hood Asso­ciate of Paul “Corn­fed” Schnei­der accord­ing to Dan Morain, of the Sacra­men­to Bee.


    For a lib­er­al pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tion that boasts of being born of the civ­il right move­ment of the 60s they seem to be going a lit­tle Green­wald.

    It seems in addi­tion to rep­re­sent­ing The White Aryan Broth­er and oth­er pris­on­ers to reduce their secu­ri­ty sta­tus in prison, the front of their web­site has arti­cles dis­cussing their legal efforts on behalf of the Guan­tanamo Uighurs and sep­a­rate­ly against the NSA due to the Snow­den Rev­e­la­tions.


    Things are going to the dogs indeed.

    Posted by GK | January 15, 2014, 6:35 pm

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