In Ohio, a teenage female, age 19, pleaded guilty to the murder of her foster mother, as part of an alleged scheme that stated she was romantically linked with her foster father. Sabrina Zunich pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in Lake County on Thursday afternoon, and could possibly be given the sentence of life in prison later next month.
Zunich gave evidence against Kevin Knoefel earlier in the year as a portion of her plea agreement. Knoefel was found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder because he allegedly convinced Zunich to kill his wife Lisa Knoefel, and sexual battery for having had sexual intercourse with the teen girl.
Zunich’s lawyer was asking for the option of parole after the teenager had served 20 years. He stated that his client was regretful and that she would have never killed Lisa Knoefel if it had not been for the power of her foster father over her.
Zunich sobbed before she admitted to fatally stabbing her foster mother nearly 180 times.
The teenager was only 17 when she murdered Lisa Knoefel, age 41, as the social worker slept in her Willoughby Hills bedroom on Chagrin Drive. The date was Nov. 16, 2012. Zunich claims that she and her foster father, Kevin Knoefel, were in on the crime together, having planned it as a pair, stated prosecuting attorney Jamie Eck.
Zunich pleaded to being guilty on Aug. 28 to one count of aggravated murder. She was crying as she spoke to Judge Richard L. Collins Jr. and said that she had stabbed her foster mother to death with the collaboration of Kevin Knoefel.
The 19 year old now could face the maximum sentence of spending the rest of her life in an Ohio prison without any parole when she is penalized on Sept. 29. The least punishment she could face would be the sentence of 20 years to life, but trial prosecutors have suggested if she receives life with parole eligibility, let it be in 30 years instead of the lesser amount.
The teen girl’s foster father, Kevin Knoefel, age 43, was penalized earlier this month. He was given life in prison but will be eligible to receive parole in just over 40 years from now. Knoefel was found allegedly guilty by a jury of each of the 11 counts that were against him. The charges were three counts of complicity to aggravated murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder and six counts of sexual battery.
Ohio Prosecutors explained in court that Knoefel and Zunich had started a sexual affair when she was still considered a minor and that he guaranteed her they would spend their lives together with the murder victim’s life insurance money. They also stated that Knoefel supposedly trained Zunich on how to stab Lisa Knoefel in order to cause the highest amount of internal damage.
The indictment stated that Knoefel was accused of having sex with Zunich on the exact day of the murder, in addition to other times both before and after the killing of his wife. It is believed that Knoefel allegedly planned the killing of his wife sometime starting in Aug. 2012 with the teenager.
Zunich stated that she was presently taking prescription medication for anxiety, bipolar, PTSD and also ADHD. The teenager’s $5 million in bond has been rescinded.
Kevin Knoefel continues to maintain his innocence and is attempting to appeal his convictions. He states that Zunich acted by herself in the murder.
In northeast Ohio, Sabrina Zunich pleaded guilty to the murder of her foster mother as part of an alleged scheme that declared she was in a romantic relationship with her foster father.
By Kimberly Ruble