'Mountain Man' requests hearing on evidence against him
MANTI — Troy Knapp, known as the "Mountain Man" for the years he spent roaming Utah's mountains and allegedly stealing from unoccupied cabins, has requested a hearing on the evidence against him.
Knapp, 35, apparently told his attorney that he didn't want to go to court for his hearing in 6th District Court Wednesday, opting instead to appear via closed circuit video from the Sanpete County Jail. Knapp is charged with three counts of burglary, theft by receiving stolen property, second-degree felonies; purchase, transfer, possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person and criminal mischief, third-degree felonies; three counts of theft and two counts criminal mischief, class B misdemeanors.
His attorney, Lawrence Hunt, requested a preliminary hearing, which was set for June 10. Following that hearing, a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to order for him to stand trial on the charges.
Knapp was arrested April 2 after authorities tracked him down near Ferron Reservoir. He apparently shot at a Department of Public Safety helicopter that was participating in the search for the elusive fugitive who is also facing as many as 18 criminal charges in Iron, Kane and Garfield counties.
Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel said he is "100 percent positive more charges will be filed" against Knapp. Keisel didn't know what the charges may be or which agency may file them but estimated they would be filed within a month.
Officials said Knapp was talkative and detailed some of his exploits once he was taken into custody. In light of the pending charges and possible additional charges, Hunt said he has advised his client to keep quiet.
"My understanding is that he cooperated much more than defense attorneys appreciate, and I have put a stop to that at this point," Hunt said.
Knapp is a survivalist who is suspected of breaking into dozens of cabins in southern and central Utah over a seven-year span. Hunt said Wednesday that being in custody has been an adjustment for Knapp.
"I understand he is having a little trouble sleeping," Hunt said. "The confinement is obviously a big change for him, but he seems to be adjusting OK."
For years, Knapp is believed to have broken into summer cabins during the winter, living off whatever supplies were inside, and then living in remote mountainous areas during the summer. In his summer campsites discovered by law enforcers, they found high-end camping gear stolen from cabins as well as numerous firearms.
Police say Knapp left threatening messages for law enforcers in cabins that he is accused of breaking into, such as: "Pack up and leave. Get off my mountain." They say he has also shot up the inside of some cabins, and took particular aim at religious-themed artwork.
Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins said the cabin break-ins in his county began about 2005. Although Knapp has only been charged with three burglaries in Garfield, Perkins said he is a suspect in as many 20 to 30 break-ins.
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