BY JACK SHEA
PAINESVILLE, Ohio–The behavior of Kevin Knoefel, 43, before and after his wife was murdered, was the subject of dramatic testimony on the third day of Knoefel’s murder conspiracy trial.
A corrections officer at the Lake County Jail testified that Kevin Knoefel showed up at the jail on the day after his wife, Lisa Knoefel, 41, was stabbed 178 times in the couple’s Willoughby Hills home by their foster daughter, Sabrina Zunich, 19.
Officer Jay Leonard said Knoefel wanted to visit Sabrina Zunich and seemed irritated when he was told he could not see Zunich. “There was a little counter on the top and he did put his hands on it to talk to me, said ‘you do not understand; I need to see her,” said Leonard.
Lake County social worker, Nicole Corbett, was devastated when she learned on November 16, 2012 that Lisa Knoefel had been murdered by Sabrina Zunich.
Corbett supervised Sabrina’s case and had recommended that the troubled teen be placed in the Knoefel home, despite a history of psychiatric problems.
When asked by defense attorney, Michael Connick, if she recalled incidents where Sabrina Zunich was hearing voices telling her to hurt people, Corbett said, “yes, once.”
After the murder of Lisa Knoefel, investigators discovered evidence that Kevin Knoefel had seduced Sabrina Zunich and was having a sexual relationship with his foster daughter.
The affair was a secret before the murder, and that’s why the case worker didn’t give it a second thought when she approved Sabrina’s request to take a modeling class, recommended by Kevin Knoefel, who had been taking photos of the girl. Corbett said, “So I had asked where this money was coming from, and she said that Kevin was helping pay for it.”
Corbett also told the jury that before the murder, Kevin Knoefel asked her if he would be able to get custody of Sabrina Zunich, if he and his wife divorced.
After Sabrina Zunich was arrested for the murder of Lisa Knoefel, the case worker went to visit Zunich in jail, and was surprised by what the accused killer said. “I had not mentioned anyone else, and I did let her know at the beginning of this that anything she says is not confidential, and she said, ‘I don’t know why people think Kevin had something to do with this. I don’t why they’d say that,’ and I had not mentioned his name at all.”
A Chase bank employee testified that Kevin Knoefel and Sabrina Zunich maintained a joint bank account, and that after the murder of his wife, Knoefel transferred thousands of dollars into Zunich’s account.