October 29, 2013

Maine’s ‘North Pond Hermit’ pleads guilty to 13 counts

Christopher Knight is admitted to a program where he will live in the community and report to a judge.

By BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal

(Continued from page 1)

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Christopher Knight sits in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta on Monday.

Andy Molloy/ Kennebec Journal

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Christopher Knight is escorted into Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta on Monday to enter pleas for multiple burglaries and thefts while living in the woods of central Maine for 27 years. The North Pond Hermit agreed to plead guilty in exchange for receiving an alternative sentence with the Co-Occurring Disorders Court, a special, intensive supervision program where he will live and work in the community while reporting weekly to a judge.

Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Additional Photos Below

Charges against Christopher Knight

• Burglary and theft at Pine Tree Camp in Rome, March 13 and April 4, 2013 and April 26, 2012;

• Burglary and theft at private camps in Rome, July 16, 2010, and Sept. 30-Oct. 8, 2012;

• Burglary at private camp in Rome ,July 14-16, 2008;

• Burglary and theft at private camp in Smithfield, April 26, 2012.

‘A VERY UNIQUE PERSON’

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney met with burglary victims including the operators of the Pine Tree Camp, which hosts programs for disabled children and adults, before recommending a sentence to Mills. She detailed for the judge the evidence the state had to prove Knight committed the crimes, and said he was charged with only crimes that were reported to police before April 4. She noted that the statute of limitations prevented the state from charging him with burglaries reported more than six years ago.

After Monday’s hearing, McKee said there is no fixed date for Knight’s release from jail. He said details about Knight’s living arrangements are still being settled, and that his family will assist him. Several of Knight’s family members, including his brother Joel, watched the hearing from a bench at the rear of the courtroom.

More than a dozen members of the media attended.

McKee said Knight doesn’t talk or interact much with other people, but no one anticipates any problems once he is released. McKee said money contributed to a fund for Knight will be used to pay the $1,800 restitution estimated so far. McKee said he intends to contribute some of his own money.

Outside the courtroom, Margaret Micholichek of the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine said she will attend a meeting between Knight and the victims so he can hear how the burglaries affected them.

Maloney said such a meeting could include all victims, not just those named in the charges, as well as some of Knight’s family members and therapists.

McKee and Maloney said Knight was considered a candidate for the special court program because he was stealing items to survive, not jewelry.

“It’s a very unique case, a very unique sentence, and a very unique person,” McKee said.

FEW RECLAIMED ITEMS

After his arrest, Knight led police to his campsite near Little North Pond. The site was full of camping gear, clothes, propane tanks, batteries, sleeping bags and foodstuffs.

State police collected all of the items and allowed those who had reported burglaries in the Little North Pond, North Pond and East Pond areas to retrieve their property. Few people reclaimed any items.

However, this summer, many of the seasonal residents said they felt safer knowing that the longtime burglar was behind bars.

The judge said Knight’s sentence will be imposed at the completion of the Co-Occurring Disorders Court, which will take at least a year. If he fails to complete the requirements, it could result in an immediate sentencing.

“Hopefully, things can settle down and you can get into a routine,” Mills said, because that’s how people succeed in the program.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

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Additional Photos

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Christopher Knight

  


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