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'Mountain Man' utters few words in 1st court appearance

Published April 10, 2013 6:53 pm

Courts • Alleged cabin burglar appears via video feed in 6th District Court.
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Manti • On the day he was arrested, police say Troy James Knapp was affable and chatty. But he didn't have much to say during his initial appearance Wednesday in Manti's 6th District Court.

The man who police believe is the notorious cabin burglar known as the "Mountain Man" was in court for his first appearance in three burglary and theft cases connected to cabins he allegedly broke into in Fairview Canyon.

Knapp, who appeared via a video feed from Sanpete County Jail, wore a striped jail jumpsuit and answered "yes" to several questions asked by 6th District Judge Marvin Bagley, including verifying his identity and whether he understood the charges he faces.

The Sanpete County Attorney's Office charged the 45-year-old Knapp last week with six felonies and five misdemeanors in three separate cases: three counts of felony burglary; felony theft by receiving stolen property; felony use of a firearm by a restricted person; felony criminal mischief; three counts of misdemeanor theft; and two counts of misdemeanor criminal mischief.

After Knapp told the judge he understood all of the charges, he was assigned a public defender, Lawrence Hunt. Hunt, who was at the jail with Knapp, asked the judge for a waiver hearing, set to take place April 17, to determine whether there will be a preliminary hearing.

Knapp — whose exploits and ability to elude capture have generated nationwide interest — will be taken from the jail to the courthouse for that appearance before Judge Wallace Lee.

Probable-cause statements for the three cases detail cabin break-ins that occurred in October 2012. In one case, the owner of a cabin in Fairview Canyon complained that his cabin had been broken into, and when a Sanpete sheriff's deputy inspected the building, he saw an upstairs bedroom had been inhabited. There were no signs anything had been taken, but it looked as if someone had rummaged through dresser drawers, and a closet door was broken.

In another case, a cabin owner reported that food, pliers and a flashlight had been stolen, and a bottle of liquor and a box of Oreos had been consumed.

In the third case, a cabin owner told police that a hatchet and GPS system were stolen. Ammo and guns were moved around the cabin, according to court documents, but none were taken.

According to probable-cause statements, Knapp admitted during police interviews after his arrest to breaking into all three cabins.

Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel said in court Wednesday that his office anticipates filing more charges against Knapp in connection with crimes he allegedly committed during his capture April 2, when police say he fired a rifle at a Department of Pubic Safety helicopter. He also allegedly pointed the weapon at Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk, one of about 50 law officers who converged on Knapp near Ferron Reservoir.

Keisel said outside of court that federal prosecutors have contacted his office and have shown an interest in being involved in prosecuting Knapp because of the allegations that he shot at law enforcement officers.

Keisel said his office will discuss the case with federal prosecutors before Knapp's next court appearance and decide what additional charges to file. They may include more burglary and theft charges pertaining to other cabin break-ins near Ferron Reservoir in Sanpete County, he said.

Sanpete is the fourth county to file charges against Knapp. In 2012, Iron, Kane and Garfield counties filed their own burglary-related charges. As of Tuesday, Knapp had 19 felonies and 10 misdemeanors — mostly burglary and theft — filed against him.

Police allege Knapp has been committing such crimes since 2007.


Twitter: @jm_miller






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