FREEHOLD – A Matawan man has admitted to killing his father, then hiding the body in the home the men shared, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Thursday.  

Appearing before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Henry P. Butehorn on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, Kenneth H. Knapp Jr., 32, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter and second-degree Desecration of Human Remains. 

At approximately 12:35 p.m. on Sunday, May 1, 2022, patrol officers from the Borough of Matawan Police Department responded to a home in that jurisdiction to conduct a welfare check on the victim, 58-year-old Kenneth Knapp Sr., after friends and family members had been unsuccessful in contacting him over the previous week. 

In the home’s basement, officers located Knapp’s body, wrapped and bound inside a tarp, secreted inside a large plastic container.

A cooperative investigation by Detectives of the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau and the Borough of Matawan Police Department revealed that Knapp, a former collegiate wrestler, had assaulted and killed his father in the home’s bathroom a week earlier before hiding his body in the basement. He was taken into custody in Somerset County on Friday, August 19, 2022, then lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI).  

Sentencing in the case has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday, April 18, 2024. At that time the State intends to recommend a term of 25 years in state prison on the Manslaughter charge and an additional five years on the Desecration charge, with the former term subject to the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA), which mandates that 85 percent be served prior to the possibility of parole.   

This case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Michael V. Luciano of the Major Crimes Bureau. Knapp was represented by John M. Murphy III, Esq. with offices in Farmingdale and Staten Island, New York.