‘Mountain Man’ burglary suspect pleads guilty, gets 10 years in federal prison

Posted at 10:57 PM, Jun 09, 2014

ST GEORGE, Utah – So-called “Mountain Man” burglar Troy James Knapp lived in and out of central Utah cabins for six years.

Now he’ll spend the next decade in a federal prison.

Knapp appeared in both federal and district courts Monday to answer to several dozen burglary charges.

Knapp, 46, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of burglary. The plea was part of an agreement with state prosecutors, and brings to a close a case that had both federal and state components.

“Obviously an unusual case,” said U.S. District Attorney Matthew Bell. “A lot of moving parts and a lot of jurisdictions that had an interest in the outcome.”

In the federal case, Knapp was charged with using a firearm during crime of violence, related firing on officers during arrest in April 2013.

Knapp pleaded guilty to that charge in April of this year, as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors. In turn, prosecutors dropped two other charges.

U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart sentenced Knapp to 126 months for the crime, adding that Knapp had amazing survival skills and it was “unfortunate” he’d used those skills in a criminal way.

“Perhaps you ought to write a book,” Stewart added.

From federal court, Knapp went straight into federal court, where he faced dozens of charges spanning over seven different counties. Judges and attorneys both admitted it was a little unorthodox to have those hearings back to back, but said in the interest of judicial economy, it was the best way to resolve such a complex case.

“It was quite an undertaking,” said Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel. “Trying to bring all those parties together and find something that works out for the state government and the federal system as well.”

But prosecutors say they were pleased with the result. In the end, 5th District Judge Eric Ludlow sentenced Knapp one to 15 years for each of the 10 burglary charges.

Those sentences will be served concurrent to the federal sentence.

Knapp didn’t address the court directly, but his attorneys say he’s been very cooperative with police, helping them retrieve 13 handguns, two rifles and a shotgun taken during the burglaries.

“It showed that the criminal justice system works,” said defense attorney Jay Winward. “Mr. Knapp’s very grateful that it came together in a way where justice was served yet he can move forward.”

Knapp is in federal custody, prosecutors requested he be remanded to a medium security prison.

After he serves his federal sentence, he’ll be transported back to Utah and either get parole, or serve the rest of his state sentence.