Knoefel gets life in prison with parole

PAINESVILLE -- A Willoughby Hills man, who was found guilty in connection with his wife's murder, was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 30 years.

Knoefel stared with a blank look on his face through the entire hearing Wednesday morning -- even upon the moment he was sentenced.

Additionally, the judge sentenced Knoefel to serve 12 years on multiple sexual battery charges. As a result, Knoefel has also been classified as a Tier-III sex offender.

The defense declared they would immediately appeal.

In June, a jury determined Kevin Knoefel was guilty in the conspiracy in which his wife, Lisa, was murdered in 2012.

Knoefel did not speak throughout the entire sentencing hearing, which began around 10:15 a.m. with victim-impact statements.

The first statement came from a woman who apparently worked with Lisa.

"She was just so awesome with the children. She made a difference. She helped so many foster children. … She will be truly missed. She's still with us in our hearts."

That woman concluded her statement by saying, "We just want justice to be served."

The second, and final, victim-impact statement, came from a man who began his remarks by labeling Knoefel as a "piece of crap." Upon multiple objections to the man's comments from Knoefel's defense, the judge asked him to restrain himself while allowing him to proceed.

The man continued by saying, "I hope, judge, that you will give him the maximum sentence. My daughter and my daughter's sister, think about their mother every day. I sure hope you think (looks at Knoefel) about what you did in jail. I hope you rot in jail the rest of your life."

Later in the hearing, this man was forced to leave the courtroom for apparently speaking profanely in the defense's direction. This happened during a heated exchange between the defense and the judge.

Prior to sentencing, prosecutors said Knoefel showed no sign of remorse during his trial.

The defense spoke next and dubbed the jury's verdict against Knoefel "absurd" and declared their client still maintained his innocence. The defense added that Knoefel didn't show remorse during the case because he was being accused of something he didn't do.

The judge said he took "great offense" to the remark from Knoefel's defense at labeling the jury's verdict absurd.

Knoefel's foster daughter, Sabrina Zunich, has been charged with aggravated murder in the case. Zunich, who was 17 at the time, is accused of stabbing Lisa to death.

Prosecutors say Knoefel and Zunich were allegedly romantically involved when the conspiracy to kill Lisa was concocted.


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