August 3, 2013

Maine's 'North Pond Hermit' indicted on additional charges

But the man who lived in the woods by himself for almost three decades probably won't be charged in hundreds of other burglaries because of the statute of limitations.

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

The Somerset County grand jury indicted Christopher T. Knight, commonly known as "the North Pond Hermit," on one count each of burglary and theft Thursday.

The indictment alleges Knight burglarized a Smithfield home on April 26, 2012, and stole food and alcohol. He is scheduled for arraignment Aug. 14 in Skowhegan.

Knight, 47, formerly of Albion, has been jailed since April 4 when he was arrested as he left the Pine Tree Camp dining hall in Rome about 1 a.m., laden with food and tools.

He told authorities at that time he had been living in the woods near North Pond for almost three decades, breaking into surrounding camps and homes to get everything he needed to survive and avoiding contact with people.

He led investigators to his heavily camouflaged campsite in Rome.

North Pond straddles Kennebec and Somerset counties and is bordered by Mercer, Rome and Smithfield.

In addition to the charges he was indicted on Thursday, Knight also is charged with the April 4 burglary and theft at Pine Tree Camp and a burglary and theft that occurred last fall at the camp, as well as a break-in at a home nearby. He has not been charged – and probably won't be – in connection with hundreds of additional burglaries because of the statute of limitations.

Knight's story of surviving alone so long in the Maine woods and burglarizing camps for supplies attracted worldwide media attention and some sympathy, but some victims of the burglaries have said they feel more secure this summer knowing a suspect is behind bars.

Knight's attorney, Walter McKee, who also represents him on two separate charges of burglary and theft in Kennebec County, has said he is in discussions with the Kennebec/Somerset district attorney's office to resolve the cases before trial.

"Nothing has changed with the case," McKee said Friday. "We remain in discussions about a resolution of all of Mr. Knight's cases, and I am confident that this case will be resolved before the end of the summer."

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Friday, "We are close to settlement, and I believe we will settle this in August."

She said prosecutors presented the case in Somerset County this month because the grand jury there meets so infrequently and they wanted to preserve the charge. Even though Knight has waived his speedy trial rights and indictment, she said a judge is not bound to accept that. 

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at: badams@centralmaine.com

 

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