Covington man charged with mother's murder

Earl Knasel (Source: Kenton County Detention Center, from a receiving stolen property case in 2007)
Earl Knasel (Source: Kenton County Detention Center, from a receiving stolen property case in 2007)

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Police have issued a warrant for Earl "Donnie" Knasel for the death of his mother.

Covington police said Knasel has been charged with first degree murder.

Barbara Knasel, 64, was found dead inside her home on Blackburn Avenue after neighbors reported a strong smell of natural gas in the area. Neighbors said the smell was so strong in the area, it could be smelled up to a block and a half away. Part of the neighborhood had to be evacuated for a short time on Tuesday night.

Knasel's son, Donnie, was found unconscious and taken to University Hospital for treatment. Tonight, the 47-year old is at University Hospital recovering from gas fumes. Knasel is in stable condition.

Once Donnie is released from the hospital, he'll be taken to the Hamilton County jail, and then he'll be extradited to Kenton County.

Police said Barbara died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Ms. Allen Murphy said she's lived near Barbara and her two children, Donnie and Teresa, for about thirty years.

"I've know them since they were children -- Teresa and Donnie both," said Murphy.

Murphy said the family was always polite and loving. Neighbors said they had their normal child-parent spats, but never anything serious.

"I heard her say to her children, 'I better never hear you say anything to Ms. Murphy that you shouldn't say,'" said Murphy. "That's what I heard her tell her children. And they didn't either!"

Barbara and Donnie lived in this home at 109 Blackburn Avenue. Murphy told FOX 19 that both recently lost their jobs, but others who also live nearby said they still stayed positive.

Donnie has been arrested at least twice in Kenton county-- all for minor offenses, including: receiving stolen property, but nothing that comes close to murder.

Neighbors said the family lived on the street for nearly 30 years. Residents in the quiet community said the family never fought loudly and the police were never called out to the house, until last night.

Neighbors said Barbara's daughter Teresa found the pair around 8:30p.m. on Tuesday night. We're told she first saw her brother and then ran outside of the house screaming. Moments later, someone reportedly called police and firefighters to the house after smelling natural gas.

"Upon investigation, they located a female that appeared to be deceased," said Lt. Col. Spike Jones, Asst. Chief of Covington Police. "As well as an unresponsive male."

Donnie was taken to University Hospital Tuesday night. Hours later, he was charged with beating his own mother to death.

"In this case, it is tragic that whatever occurred prior to this that led to that unfortunately there wasn't some way to prevent it," said Lt. Col. Spike Jones.

The same sentiment that has neighbors in this small community praying for peace.

"We never know what one day brings forth," Murphy said. "It pays to serve Jesus."

Neighbor Chase Jennings also described the Knasels as a nice family.

"Just good people. Good solid Americans. She was very helpful and he was very helpful. If we needed something done over here, he'd come and do it," said Jennings.

Police would not comment on whether they believe Knasel attempted suicide or the exact condition of Barbara's body.

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