Troy James Knapp will face sentencing on Monday, after evading Utah authorities for six years and becoming a sort of folk hero across the state.
Knapp, 46, robbed cabins and stole guns, whiskey and other supplies while on his spree. He antagonized authorities, traveling on snowshoes and leaving notes warning sheriffs that he was “gonna put you in the ground,” and also leaving cabin owners notes like, “Thanks for the hospitality, Troy James the red head.”
Knapp’s behavior helped him gain fame in Utah, earning him the nickname “Mountain Man.”
Knapp was finally caught last year after authorities tracked him on snowshoes for three days, eventually flushing him out of a cabin he was living in at the time. He fired several shots at a police helicopter and tried to escape on snowshoe before being arrested. During his trial, Knopp fired his defense attorney, telling the judge he would represent himself before accepting an array of plea deals from seven Utah counties that will ultimately land him in prison for 10 years.
Troy James Knapp has been getting in trouble with the law since his teenage years. As an adolescent in Michigan, he was convicted of breaking and entering, as well as writing bad checks. He later drifted to California, where he was imprisoned for burglary. In 2004, Knapp disappeared while out on parole, but authorities did not start searching for him until 2007 when a series of cabin burglaries were reported in Utah.
According to authorities, Knapp would spend his winters in others’ cabins, eating their food and listening to their radios for news updates on the manhunt. In the summer, he would go deep into the woods with guns, food and whiskey, waiting until families would leave their cabins for the season so he could go back to resupply and regroup. Knapp would leave an empty bottle of whiskey at each cabin he had visited, along with the notes taunting the authorities.
After his sentencing Monday, authorities will have finally put away the man who has been haunting them for the past six years. Although many Utah citizens still feel that Knapp is a folk hero, prosecutors have tried to insist that he was nothing more than a criminal who lived off other people.
In a St. George courtroom Monday, the “Mountain Man” will be put away, but his legend is certain to live on.