An Ohio man has been accused of viciously butchering a woman he wrote to while behind bars, as well as her boyfriend, a month after his release from prison, police said.
Thomas Knuff, 42, was charged with aggravated murder in the stabbing deaths of 65-year-old John Mann and 50-year-old Regina Capobianco, whose badly decomposed bodies were found in Mann’s home, Parma Heights Police Captain Steve Scharschmidt said.
Mann and Capobianco, who were in a romantic relationship, picked up Knuff from the Lorain Correctional Institution on April 11, marking the first time the three had come face to face, official said.
“When they picked him up from prison, it was the first time they met,” Scharschmidt told InsideEdition.com.
Capobianco met Knuff through a prison pen pal program that connected the pair while they separately served time in prison, police said.
Knuff had been serving more than 15 years for a myriad of charges, including aggravated robbery with a firearm, safecracking and breaking and entering, officials said. They went on to write each other for about 10 years.
Knuff went back with Capobianco and Mann to Mann’s home on Nelwood Road in Parma Heights, which Scharschmidt said was under foreclosure and had been the target of several drug and prostitution investigations that ultimately yielded no criminal charges.
By May 11, Mann and Capobianco were dead, officials said.
Both had been stabbed several times in the neck and shoulder, police said.
“He put them in a bedroom together, and was still there for approximately a week, living there,” Scharschmidt said.
Police discovered the bodies on June 21, nearly a month after Capobianco’s sister reported her missing, officials said. It took police several trips to find the remains in the home, which was in such bad shape that it was believed to have been abandoned, Scharschmidt said.
“Once we determined we should do a very thorough check... we had to move him to get to her,” Scharschmidt said of the scene’s condition.
A knife believed to have been used in the killings was found at the home, authorities said. Investigators were still working to determine a motive behind the grisly slayings.
Knuff was arrested on May 31 in connection to break-ins at a hair salon and nail salon, where registers were stolen after the business’s front doors were shattered, officials said.
Investigators connected Knuff to the murders on Friday.
He had been cooperative with police but did not provide a motive for the killings and has invoked his right to an attorney, Scharschmidt said.
“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, or $50 million.
No attorney information for Knuff was available on Wednesday.