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Witness: Defendant was calm after dog attack



Published: Thu, February 28, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Witness: Defendant wascalm after dog attack

LOS ANGELES -- A witness in the dog mauling trial of two San Francisco attorneys described defendant Marjorie Knoller as "oddly calm, almost cold" after her two dogs attacked and killed a college lacrosse coach.

Andrea Runge, an animal control officer, testified she stood in the hallway outside Diane Whipple's apartment while Whipple lay dying and found the scene "devastating."

"There was 20 to 30 feet of blood, shreds of clothing. The carpets were soaked in blood, and the victim was in the hallway being attended to," she said Wednesday. "It was just incomprehensible, and Ms. Knoller was oddly calm, almost cold."

Runge said she asked Knoller to lead her two Presa Canario dogs out of the building, but Knoller refused, claiming she couldn't handle the dogs.

Prosecutors were expected to use that comment against Knoller as they attempt to prove she knew the animals were uncontrollable.

Emergency personnel and a neighbor who saw a wounded Whipple through her apartment peephole also testified Wednesday in the trial of Knoller and her husband, Robert Noel. Their dogs, Bane and Hera, killed Whipple, 33, in the hallway of their building Jan. 26, 2001.

Mom of convicted killeraccused in escape plot

WAURIKA, Okla. -- The mother of a convicted killer who escaped last month from a Texas jail has been arrested, accused of helping plot another escape by her son, officials said.

Officers took Cherese Smith, who is also known as Cherese Bagwell, into custody late Wednesday in Jefferson County in southern Oklahoma. The alleged escape plan was never carried out.

The Jefferson County district attorney said the arrest was made following a probe that included several agencies, including the FBI and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

An initial court appearance was scheduled for this afternoon.

Cherese Smith is the mother of Joshua Bagwell, one of four people who fled the Montague County Jail on Jan. 28 after overpowering a jailer.

The escape of Bagwell, Curtis Gambill, Charles Jordan and Chrystal Soto triggered a massive search along the Oklahoma-Texas border that ended 10 days later with the four inmates' capture near Ardmore.

Bush urges Congressto boost debt limit

WASHINGTON -- President Bush wants Congress to quickly approve his request to let the government borrow an additional $750 billion, but House Republicans wonder if the politically painful vote can be delayed a bit.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill planned to meet today with House GOP leaders on the debt limit question. The administration says the current $5.95 trillion limit will be breached by late March and needs to be raised as soon as possible.

But with elections for control of Congress in November, Democrats are poised to use the issue to remind voters that four straight years of budget surpluses have ended under Bush, forcing the first debt limit increase since 1997. With House Republicans claiming only a slender majority, party leaders remain unsure how to drum up enough votes for the always unpopular measure.

"We've got troops all around the world. We've got men and women whose lives are at risk," Bush told reporters Wednesday, hoping to create momentum for the increase.

New report on cloning

WASHINGTON -- Cloned mice developed obesity when they reached adulthood, according to a new study that raises doubts about cloning animals for human transplantation and about cloning humans themselves.

Ian Wilmut, the pioneer researcher who cloned the sheep Dolly, says the report raises the question of whether any clones are entirely normal.

Duane C. Kraemer, a veterinary professor at Texas A & amp;M University, said the finding is "another reason to continue the research."

"I would not indict the entire process of cloning," Kraemer said. "We just have to have a lot more information than we have now to evaluate the consequences of such abnormalities."

The new report, published in Friday's issue of the journal Nature Medicine, comes from a team of scientists led by Dr. Randall R. Sakai at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

The cloned mice were not merely larger than normal mice. They showed several characteristics of obesity, including a significantly higher percentage of body fat and increased levels of insulin and leptin in their blood, Sakai reported.




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