updated 1/2/2004 2:18:09 PM ET 2004-01-02T19:18:09

A woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter along with her husband in the dog mauling death of a neighbor was released from prison after serving more than half of a four-year sentence.

Marjorie Knoller, 48, was released Thursday from Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, according to Yolanda Campo, an assistant in the warden's office.

Knoller's husband, Robert Noel, 62, was released on parole in September. The two were convicted in March 2002 in the death of Diane Whipple, 33, who was attacked in the hallway of their San Francisco apartment building by the couple's two mammoth presa canarios.

The couple kept the dogs for a state prison inmate and avowed Aryan Brotherhood member whom they had adopted.

Knoller, a former defense lawyer whose license to practice was suspended upon her conviction, was picked up by a friend and taken to Ventura County in Southern California, where she will serve out her parole, KTVU-TV reported.

Her husband was paroled in September to Solano County, more than 300 miles north of where his wife will be living. Prison officials did not immediately return telephone calls Friday seeking detail on why the two were paroled to different counties.

Noel reduced his four-year sentence by working in prison and staying out of trouble, officials said. Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the California Corrections Department, said Knoller refused to work part of the time, delaying her release.

Knoller and Noel are appealing their convictions. The state attorney general’s office, meanwhile, is appealing a judge’s dismissal of Knoller’s conviction of second-degree murder in the case.

KTVU said that Knoller refused to be interviewed on camera but that she told the station she was unhappy about being released because she did not know what she would do in Southern California.

Noel expressed relief over her release, saying he was “happy beyond words.”

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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