PAINESVILLE, Ohio– Testimony on Friday in the murder conspiracy trial of 43-year-old Kevin Knoefel revealed that in July 2013, police sent a witness carrying a hidden camera to speak with Knoefel.
The Willoughby Hills man is accused of convincing his foster daughter, 19-year-old Sabrina Zunich, to kill Knoefel’s wife in November 2012.
Sabrina Zunich testified on Thursday that Kevin Knoefel seduced her after she was placed in his home as a foster child, and for months, the two engaged in a sexual relationship.
Zunich says it was Knoefel who hatched the plan to kill his wife and collect $785,000 from various life insurance policies. She says she was following Knoefel’s plan when she stabbed Lisa Knoefel 178 times.
On Friday, Autumn Pavlik, who was a classmate of Sabrina Zunich at Willoughby South High School, testified that in the fall of 2012, Sabrina told her she needed help. Pavlik said, “she had asked me if I was able to get a hit man… Sabrina had said that Kevin said that they were going to get a divorce, and that she was worth more dead than alive.”
It was Autumn Pavlik, who was wearing the undercover camera that recorded the conversation with Kevin Knoefel, a short time before he was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder and sexual battery.
It was Pavlik who did most of the talking. She is heard saying “you wanted the hit man to take care of Lisa or whatever, because she was worth more dead than alive to you, and so I was curious, you know, what do I tell them?” Knoefel does not answer the question.
Autumn Pavlik also called Knoefel as police listened in. She is heard saying, “the only thing I’m worried about is that whole hit man thing. I mean I know she went off and did it by herself, but with the whole hit man thing, I don’t want to be sucked into it, if she decides to open her mouth about it”. Knoefel responds, “I honestly don’t know. Like I said, you know, she talks a big game about a lot of things.”
Testimony in the trial is scheduled to resume on Monday morning.