PAINESVILLE, Ohio-- In chilling detail, Sabrina Zunich, 19, testified how her foster father, Kevin Knoefel, 43, convinced her to murder his wife, 41-year-old Lisa Knoefel at the couple’s home in November 2012.
Zunich testified that after a troubled upbringing, she was happy that she was allowed to move into the Knoefel’s home in Willoughby Hills in 2011.
She said Kevin Knoefel later began an intimate relationship with her when she was 17. She said it began when Knoefel asked for a massage. Zunich told the jury, “I was massaging his inner thighs because of him being a truck driver and having pain there.”
Zunich said the illegal relationship progressed to the point that they were together any time that Knoefel’s wife and 13-year-old daughter were not in the home. Zunich testified, “He was a foster father when he needed to be and a lover when not being a foster father.”
But there was trouble in the home. Lisa Knoefel viewed Sabrina Zunich as a disruptive force and began to suspect her husband viewed Sabrina as more than a foster daughter. “She wanted me out,” said Zunich.
Sabrina Zunich said it was in the fall of 2012, that Kevin Knoefel began to talk about having his wife killed, and told Zunich about the $785,000 in insurance policies he had on Lisa Knoefel’s life.
Zunich told the jury that Knoefel told her, “She would be worth more dead than alive," and “He talked about how to kill her.”
Zunich said Knoefel eventually suggested that she stab Lisa Knoefel with a large knife, and that’s what she did 178 times in the early morning hours of November 16, 2012. When asked by prosecutors why she did it, Zunich said, “Because I was doing what I was told to do." When asked who told her to do it, she said, “Kevin." And when asked why she kept stabbing, she said, “Because I already knew I was going to jail.”
Zunich is testifying as part of a deal her attorney negotiated with Lake County prosecutors. She is expected to plead guilty to an aggravated murder charge, and will then face a prison term of 30 years to life in prison.
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