An Ohio man has been charged with aggravated murder for butchering a woman he wrote to while behind bars, as well as her boyfriend, a month after his release from prison.
Thomas Knuff, 42, stabbed 65-year-old John Mann and 50-year-old Regina Capobianco to death. John and Regina, who were in a romantic relationship, picked up Knuff from the Lorain Correctional Institution on April 11.
It was the first time the couple had ever come face to face with the ex-convict. Regina came to know Thomas through a prison pen pal program that connected them while they separately served time in prison. Thomas had been serving over 15 years for charges that include aggravated robbery with a firearm, safecracking and breaking and entering. He and Regina went on to write each other for 10 years.
Upon his release on Aprill 11, he went with Regina and John to John’s home on Nelwood Road in Parma Heights, Ohio, US. By May 11, John and Regina were dead. Their decomposed bodies were found in John’s home on June 21, Parma Heights Police Captain Steve Scharschmidt said. Both had been stabbed several times in the neck and shoulder.
“He put them in a bedroom together, and was still there for approximately a week, living there,” Scharschmidt said.
The bodies were discovered nearly a month after Regina’s sister reported her missing. It took police several trips to find the remains in the home which had been in such bad shape, causing police to believe it was abandoned. A knife believed to have been used in the killings was also found at the home.
Before the bodies were found, Thomas was arrested on May 31 in connection to break-ins at a hair salon and nail salon. Investigators connected him to the murders on Friday. He had been cooperating with police but did not provide a motive for the killings. Investigators are still working to determine a motive behind the murder.
“He made statements to the effect of, she’s not who he thought he was,” Scharschmidt said. “He talked to us about coming forward, (saying), ‘It’s self-defense.’ Nothing points to that.”
Knuff pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Monday, where a judge set bond at $25 million for each murder charge, that is $50 million.