May 31, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Cepec ‘not going anywhere’

MEDINA — A person of interest in the June death of Chatham Township resident Frank Munz hasn’t been charged yet, but authorities don’t have to worry about him leaving town.

Stephen Cepec, 41, is incarcerated in the Correctional Reception Center in Orient on a parole violation, continuing a 22-year history the man has had with the state’s prison system.

“He’s in prison. His parole was violated from a previous case. So we have time to do a thorough evaluation,” county Prosecutor Dean Holman said.

On Friday, a spokeswoman with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections said Cepec has an expected release date of Aug. 1, 2013. She said the details of parole violations are not public record and declined to provide further information.

Holman said his office is reviewing the Munz case and will present it to a grand jury “in the near future.”

Munz, 73, was killed during an apparent attack at his Richman Road home June 3. His nephew locked himself in a bedroom and called 911. He told a dispatcher that Munz had been talking with Cepec and a struggle between the two ensued.

A sheriff’s sergeant on his way home arrived within minutes of the 911 call and reportedly saw a man flee from the residence.

After a brief chase through the woods behind the home, authorities apprehended Cepec.

County Coroner Neil Grabenstetter said he’s awaiting test results to make a final ruling in Munz’s death. However, he said preliminary findings show he died from a combination of strangulation and injuries from a blunt instrument to the back of his head.

He can’t yet officially rule the death a homicide, he said Friday, but it appears to be one.

Cepec was held in the Medina County Jail on a parole violation for several days after Munz’s death. Ohio Department of Correction and Rehabilitation records show he was taken to a state prison on June 9 on the parole violation.

Sheriff’s Detective J. Tadd Davis said the office has completed its investigation and referred the case to the prosecutor’s office.

“Because he’s being held by the parole authority that gives us time to ensure that the case is fully completed and prepared for prosecution,” Davis said.

Munz’s brother, Jim Munz, said he’s happy with local authorities’ work.

“I believe they’re behaving in a totally appropriate manner. (Cepec’s) not going anywhere,” said Munz, who lives in Danbury, Conn.

“If they rushed into it and botched it because they were going too fast, then people would be upset,” he said.

Cepec first was incarcerated in 1988 on charges of breaking and entering, theft and receiving stolen property in Medina County, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction records. Since then, he’s been in and out of prison on charges of breaking and entering, assault and burglary.

Cepec’s current parole violation isn’t his first. He’s been incarcerated three other times for violations, according to the corrections spokeswoman. He even was taken in on a parole violation in early May and released May 28, she said.

That was six days before Munz’s death.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or