The man continued to drive in Ohio even after he knew authorities were investigating him.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A Florida truck driver accused of stabbing another driver to death outside an Austintown lounge has confessed the slaying to three witnesses, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor said.
Michael J. Maillis said evidence against Ronald A. Knab Jr., 41, is strong enough to warrant the current $250,000 bail.
Knab is accused of the November 2000 slaying of Roy Patterson, 45, of New Jersey, behind the Rebel Lounge on Seventy-Six Drive. Police said he was driving a truck in the area at the time.
"There are at least three witnesses who he's given confessions to," Maillis said Wednesday during a bond hearing before Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen A. Cronin.
He quoted Knab as saying he "killed a black man by stabbing him after a fistfight."
He said witnesses saw the fight and heard arguments over a citizens band radio.
Defense attorney Ted T. Macejko Jr. had argued that the bail violates his client's constitutional rights because it is excessive and unnecessary. He suggested that a $100,000 bail would be more reasonable and allow Knab to go back to his job as a driver for a Florida transport company, a position that often brings him into Ohio.
He said Knab became aware in 2001 that he was being investigated in the homicide when the truck he drove at the time of Patterson's death was searched by several police agencies in Alabama and by the FBI. Knab was arrested in Marietta as he drove a truck there last month.
"Mr. Knab continued to operate in his position of employment ... and he continued to come to Ohio," Macejko said. "Even though somebody was looking at him ... he was not intimidated by that."
He further argued that Knab has no prior felony criminal record.
Visit from relatives
Knab, who has a wife in Florida, has "100 percent" support from his father. The father and Knab's grandmother came to Youngstown last month for Knab's arraignment. When they learned the date had been changed without their notification, Judge Cronin allowed them to visit Knab at the county jail.
Judge Cronin denied the bond reduction request Wednesday and also questioned Knab about his ability to pay for an attorney. Macejko was appointed by the court.
The attorney said his client made $40,000 per year until he became more independent and now makes about $19,000. He is married, pays child support for one child and has no savings, Macejko said.
Cronin ordered Knab to turn over his income tax forms and filings within two weeks.