Woman's Death Exposes Seamy Prison Scam
The bizarre relationship between imprisoned white supremacist Paul "Cornfed" Schneider and his lawyers, Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel, began unraveling Jan. 16.
That's when Bane and Hera, two dogs kept for Schneider by the married attorneys, attacked and killed lacrosse coach Diane Whipple, 33, in the San Francisco apartment building they all lived in.
Officials at Pelican Bay State Prison, where Schneider is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole, said the dogs were likely part of an illegal dog-fighting ring run from prison — or else bred to guard methamphetamine labs run by the Mexican Mafia. Knoller and Noel denied those allegations.
Within days of Whipple's death, Knoller, 45, and Noel, 59, completed the legal adoption of Schneider, 38, a member of the much-feared Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, as their child — notwithstanding the fact that one of Schneider's convictions is for attempting to murder another attorney.
Then, while seeking evidence in the mauling, police found risqué photos of Knoller in Schneider's cell. Police will not discuss other evidence, but their search warrant said they were after material "describing sexual acts by Noel or Knoller that involved dogs."
In March, Knoller was charged with second-degree murder, and Noel and Knoller both were charged with manslaughter and keeping a mischievous animal. Hours after their indictment, the two were arrested and held on unrelated charges of reckless driving.
For their part, the attorneys claim they had no idea that the dogs — one of whom was nicknamed "dog of death" by his neighbors long ago — posed a threat to others.
But Bane, whose name means "cause of death and destruction," and Hera, named after the cruel Greek goddess who bore Ares, the god of war, had reportedly killed livestock and domestic pets while with a previous caretaker.
That caretaker said she gave up the dogs to the lawyers because they frightened her.
Schneider is serving time for two attempted murders. He was reportedly linked to a $3.4 million armored car heist by The Order, a terrorist white supremacist groups of the 1980s, although his alleged role remains unclear.
Schneider apparently bought the dogs using settlement money from a medical malpractice lawsuit he filed against the prison system.