April 20, 2013

Filing adds detail to hermit picture

But police still have no idea why the man opted to live most of his adult live in the Maine woods.

By BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Game Warden Aaron Cross leaves Christopher T. Knight’s camp April 9 in Rome. Knight is suspected of at least 1,000 camp burglaries in his nearly 30 years of living in the woods.

Andy Molloy/Morning Sentinel

The newly available court documents don't shed any more light on why Knight decided to leave civilization in the first place.

He later told Perkins-Vance that he "read books as a child and liked reading about hermits."

"He said nothing traumatic had occurred in his life to lead him to this lifestyle," the officer wrote. "He told me that he could not come up with a definitive answer why he chose to live this way."

The reading habit confirms what Nelson knew from Knight's childhood. Nelson spent summers at his grandparents' home in Albion. His grandmother Doris Knight was a sister to Christopher Knight's mother, Joyce, and the sisters lived in adjacent homes.

"He was very quiet growing up," Nelson said. "He stayed in his room, studied. Christopher kind of stuck to himself; all them boys had their own personalities."

Nelson, who is five years older than Christopher Knight, was closer to Knight's older brother Jonathan. Christopher Knight had four brothers -- Jonathan, Joel, Danny and Timothy -- as well as a sister, Susanna, according to a 2001 obituary for their father, Sheldon C. Knight.

"I think the brothers all sat down to eat meals, studied, did their chores," Nelson said. "That was old-school; everything was the way it should be now, I think. We grew up with the minimum."

Nelson said the boys had few snacks, so he and his late brother, Dana, used to bicycle over carrying a bag of snacks.

"They would lower a string from a bedroom window, and they'd raise a bag of snacks," he said. "I don't believe they ever had soda pop."

Nelson said he was astonished to read about Knight's sojourn in the woods.

Christopher Knight's brothers and mother have chosen not to speak to the media about him yet, and a man seen at Joyce Knight's house said she would not comment.

Perkins-Vance and District Attorney Maeghan Maloney have said they expected arrangements to be made for Knight's mother to visit him at the Kennebec County jail, where he is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Knight has been charged in Kennebec County Superior Court with two counts each of burglary and theft for the April 4 burglary at the camp as well as a burglary and theft in early October at a private camp in Rome.

The affidavit by Perkins-Vance refers to other camp break-ins, including several in which images of a burglar were caught on game cameras:

three break-ins at Pine Tree camp on April 4, 2013, March 21, 2013, and April 26, 2012

an Aug. 27, 2012, break-in on Meadow Lane in Smithfield

a July 16, 2010 burglary on McNulty Lane in Rome

The break-ins occurred only at night. Knight told Perkins-Vance "he started breaking into camps when it was raining when he felt police were closing in on him."

Perkins-Vance also noted she had a folder full of burglaries and thefts, but only one was within the statute of limitations and could be prosecuted. She said she would collect burglary reports from 2008 through 2013 in which Knight was a suspect.

Sheriff's offices in Kennebec and Somerset counties as well as Maine State Police investigated those break-ins.

Knight's attorney, Walter McKee, last week set up a separate account for those who want to donate toward restitution owed by Knight.

The search warrant that Perkins-Vance obtained resulted in state police and game wardens taking a DNA sample from Knight as well as seizing 21 separately identified containers of materials from Knight's camouflaged campsite over a two-hour period on April 11.

Items taken from the location of the tent included medical supplies, jewelry, a wallet, cooking supplies, clothes, boots, electronics, flashlights, a backpack, magazines, books, adult entertainment, food, tents, camping gear, coolers, propane tanks, alcoholic beverages and "two metal barrels and totes with clothes and camping gear" taken from a site referred to as the "upper cache above the tent."

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



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