Secret video of 'murder plot' played to jury
Jan. 10—WILKES-BARRE — A Pittston woman who said she was a longtime confidential drug informant for state police testified Monday she believed her family friend, Clayton Leroy Knorr, was going to kill his ex-girlfriend.
The woman said Knorr's behavior and demeanor made her realize he was serious about killing Michelle Shulla forcing her to call one of her contacts with the state police, a trooper, who set up a hidden video camera in a kitchen appliance.
Video of Knorr discussing his plan with the informant was played to a Luzerne County jury on the first day of his trial before President Judge Michael T. Vough.
Knorr, 42, of West Main Street, Plymouth, was arrested by state police at Wilkes-Barre when he met Shulla at a Park and Ride lot in Hanover Township on Sept. 22, a day after he discussed his plans inside the informant's residence where the camera was hidden.
Knorr is facing trial on charges of criminal attempt to commit homicide, criminal solicitation to commit homicide, criminal attempt to retaliate against a witness or victim, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He has been jailed since his arrest in September 2021.
Assistant District Attorney Drew McLaughlin in his opening statement said Knorr was found "with a lethal dosage of fentanyl" when he was arrested.
Knorr's attorney, Frank T. McCabe II, called the entire a case a, "What if?" telling the jury it was the informant who discussed different scenarios in how to get rid of Shulla.
McCabe said the secretly recorded video includes the informant doing most of the talking, planning and coaching.
McLaughlin said Knorr discussed plans to kill Shulla to prevent her from testifying against him at a court proceeding on her application for a protection-from abuse order.
The informant testified she has known Knorr through her family and allowed him to stay at her residence to help him get sober as he was addicted to methamphetamine.
She said Knorr first introduced the idea to have Shulla "sleep" on the day of the PFA hearing but changed his tone to planning to intentionally give her a deadly dose of fentanyl and crash her vehicle into a tree.
She further said Knorr intended to lure Shulla to meet him under the premise of a bank card to access an account with $3,000, and take Shulla for coffee and a donut. While at a coffee shop, she said Knorr discussed pouring fentanyl or heroin onto Shulla's donut to administer the drug.
The informant said she told Shulla about Knorr's plans but Shulla didn't believe her.
After being rebuffed by Shulla, the informant said she had no choice but to call a trooper who handled her when she was a drug informant.
Testimony continues Tuesday.