More charges filed against 'mountain man'

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:36 AM

Paul Foy

MANTI -- New charges have been filed against the wilderness fugitive sought for years for burglaries at weekend cabins across the mountains of southern Utah.

Sanpete County prosecutor Brody Keisel brought charges late Thursday for three October burglaries in Fairview Canyon.

In court papers, detectives say Troy James Knapp is taking responsibility for the break-ins and dozens more during jailhouse interviews. He was captured Tuesday after six years of living in the backcountry.

The latest charges involve burglary; theft of weapons, a hatchet and GPS device; and criminal mischief for broken windows. Knapp has told authorities he also helped himself to food inside the Fairview Canyon cabins, including a box of Hamburger Helper, noodles and Oreo cookies.

Knapp was flushed from a cabin by a police helicopter Tuesday at Ferron Reservoir, about 30 miles south of Fairview Canyon in the Manti-LaSal National Forest. Keisel said he plans to bring additional charges of attempted homicide against Knapp, who is accused of firing at the helicopter with a stolen rifle.

Knapp is expected to make his first appearance Wednesday at 6th District Court in Manti. News agencies plan to televise the proceedings. The Utah judiciary recently approved camera coverage for state trial courts.

"We'll be asking for no bail," Keisel said. Knapp is being held on burglary warrants from several other counties but will be prosecuted in Sanpete County first.

In court papers, deputies said they recovered some of the clearest video footage of Knapp from a security camera Oct. 2 outside one of the Fairview Canyon cabins off Skyline Drive, a backcountry byway. It showed Knapp with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

Knapp had cut wires to the security camera, but images were stored on an internal memory card, authorities said. They also took a cast of one of his boot impressions.

Knapp has been eagerly telling authorities about his travels and cabin burglaries - even break-ins or thefts detectives and cabin owners were unaware of.

"He says, `You don't know about all of the burglaries,'" said Sevier County Sheriff Natan Curtis, one of a number of authorities who had been trying to track down Knapp. "He has good memory and recall of where he's been."

At one Sanpete County cabin where the owner noticed nothing missing, "Knapp stated that he took a knife out of a vest" in a closet, charging documents say.

Authorities are trying to put a number on the cabins Knapp broke into over the years - "it's more than dozens," said Sanpete County Sheriff Brian Nielson.

Knapp has no attorney, and officials said he has waived his Miranda rights against self-incrimination numerous times.

Sanpete County public defender Lawrence H. Hunt said he could be appointed to represent Knapp on Wednesday.

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