18-year-old Willoughby Hills girl wipes away tears during hearing for her foster mom's murder

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio - A Willoughby Municipal Court judge set a $750,000 bond for the 18-year-old girl accused of stabbing her foster mother to death.

Sabrina Zunich was escorted into the courtroom Monday afternoon. Her hands and feet were shackled as she stood before Judge Almis Stempuzis, who read the murder charges against her.

"That charge alleges that on or about Friday November 16th 2012 in Lake County, city of Willoughby Hills, state of Ohio, you Sabrina Anne Zunich did purposely cause the death of Lisa Knoefel," the judge said.

Zunich wiped away tears as the judge read the charges and set bond at $750,000.

Her paternal grandmother, Anna Zunich, and other family members were there to support the teen they describe as a sweet child.

"I don't believe any of that, that's happening. This is a nightmare. She's not capable of that," Anna Zunich said.

Zunich was taken into police custody Friday morning after police found her with the murder weapon in her hand.

"She came out into the hallway, had the actual knife in her hand. Officers confronted her, got her down on the floor and then made entry into the bedroom, where they found the victim," said Willoughby Hills Police Chief Christopher Collins, in a news conference Friday afternoon.

Sabrina's former elementary school tutor said she had been in her father's custody until he died last year. He said her grandmother was unable to continue caring for her, so Sabrina was taken into childrens' services.

Family friend Linda Kraska credits Zunich's grandmother for helping care for her for as long as she could.

"I just want to add that this is a wonderful woman and she took this young lady in at over 60 years of age, wonderful woman," she said.

A spokeswoman from Cuyahoga County's Family and Children's Services Department said the fact that Knoefel chose to foster a child speaks to her dedication to her job.
She said she really believed in the work she did.

Meanwhile, the judge set Zunich's preliminary hearing for this Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m.

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