Thomas Knuff had been out of prison for one month

By Harriet Sokmensuer
July 06, 2017 03:58 PM
John Mann and Regina Capobianco Credit: Courtesy Parma Heights PD
Credit: Courtesy Parma Heights PD (2)

An formerly imprisoned Ohio man is accused of murdering his jailhouse pen pal and her boyfriend one month after being released, PEOPLE confirms.

Thomas Knuff, 42, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of John Mann, 65, and Regina Capobianco, 50, according to a Parma Heights Police Department press conference on Monday.

According to police, Knuff and Capobianco were pen pals while he served a 15-year sentence on an aggravated robbery with a weapon conviction before being released in April. Upon being released, police said, Knuff was picked up by the victims and stayed at their home.

Knuff was arrested on June 30, after the bodies of Mann and Capobianco were found decomposing in Mann’s home. They had been rotting there for five weeks, said police, who believe the pair was killed on May 11.

“For many of them, this is one of the toughest crime scenes our detectives have had to deal with,” Parma Heights Police Chief Daniel Teel said at the press conference. “Not only because of the crime, but because of the time and the conditions that the victims were found in.”

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It is unclear when exactly the pair were killed but police say they suffered multiple stab wounds in the neck and shoulder. Police have not announced a possible motive.

According to police, Knuff allegedly moved the bodies to a bedroom and continued to live in the home.

Thomas Knuff
| Credit: Parma Heights Police Dept.

Capobianco and Knuff began pen-paling through a prison program. They had written each other for nearly 10 years, police said. During that time, Capobianco met Mann at a Stark County strip club he frequented.

In late May, Capobianco’s sister reported her missing. Police launched an investigation and questioned Knuff. They went to the home several times throughout the investigation but never went inside.

Three weeks later, police discovered the bodies while conducting a welfare check on Capobianco at Mann’s home.

“We had thought that possibly Mann and Capobianco had just left the house and went elsewhere, but we were there several times and, to be quite honest with you, probably should’ve been discovered, and that’s something we’re working through here internally,” said Capt. Steve Scharschmidt of Parma Heights Police Department.

Knuff was also arraigned on Monday for two counts of breaking and entering from a separate alleged incident that occurred a week after the alleged murders, police said.

On Monday, a Parma Municipal Court Judge set Knuff’s bond at $50 million. It is unclear at this time whether Knuff has an attorney. He has entered a not guilty plea to all charges, a Parma Municipal Court official tells PEOPLE.