Suspected killer investigated for plot to escape Cuyahoga County Jail: I-Team

CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-Team has found a suspected killer under investigation for a plot to escape from the Cuyahoga County Jail.

Corrections officers say they found Thomas Knuff with homemade sheriff’s badges, a sharp blade made out of a lens from eyeglasses, spools of thread, a homemade shirt, and more.

Knuff is facing charges for killing two people in Parma Heights, and he could face the death penalty.

The I-Team has learned guards found Knuff also had a Bible hollowed out to hide things. And, a report shows his cell mattress had an extra layer sewn so things could be hidden there, too.

The union for the corrections officers is speaking out. Dan Leffler, chief of staff for the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said "There was a potential for a violent attack or an escape." He added, "Obviously, we have ongoing concerns with safety issues in the jail as far as overcrowding and officer safety. For staffing purposes, I think they're understaffed at the moment.”

Earlier this year, Parma Heights Police arrested Knuff saying he killed a man and a woman. Police say Knuff and the woman had been pen pals as both had been in prison. To police, no mystery about Knuff’s plan behind bars now.

Parma Heights Police Captain Steve Scharschmidt said, "We were shocked. I mean, obviously, a dangerous individual." He added, "Yeah, there's no question. I mean, you're gonna use all these things for a reason and that's to escape. I would think that would have probably come to fruition fairly soon."

Now, every ten minutes corrections officers are looking in on Thomas Knuff, writing down what he's doing, and searching his cell more often too. Police say he committed the murders one month after he got out of prison. So, scary to think what might happen if he gets out the door.

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department is doing a follow-up investigation into what was found with Knuff in the jail. He could face more charges.

Alert corrections officers opened a big investigation before a dangerous suspect opened doors.