Utah 'Mountain Man' Troy Knapp fires defense attorney
A preliminary hearing for Troy James Knapp, who police believe is the notorious cabin burglar known as the "Mountain Man," will proceed next month, even after Knapp fired his own attorney.
Defense attorney Lawrence Hunt told 6th District Judge Wallace Lee on Thursday that Knapp sent him a letter firing him from the case. Hunt, who was assigned to Knapp's case as a public defender, asked Lee to be released, according to court documents.
Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel objected, asking that Hunt be left on the case to answer legal questions, and Lee said his inclination was to leave the public defender on the case, according to court records. But Hunt objected again, and Knapp reiterated to the judge that he wanted to continue without an attorney, so Lee allowed Hunt to withdraw.
This is not the first time Knapp has tried to fire his attorney. In June, Lee denied Knapp's request for a new public defender, after Knapp told the judge he did not trust Hunt.
"I don't see how I can go into the future not trusting somebody who's supposed to be defending me," Knapp told the judge in June.
A preliminary hearing for Knapp is still scheduled to go forward on Aug. 26.
Six Utah counties have filed charges against 45-year-old Knapp 26 felonies and 13 misdemeanors total in a string of cabin break-ins dating back to at least 2009.
Knapp is currently being held at the Sanpete County jail, and prosecution is underway in three separate cases in that county.
Keisel has said that Knapp may also face federal charges, but no charges had been filed as of Thursday.
Those federal charges would likely address alleged crimes Knapp committed during his April 2 capture, when police say he fired a rifle at a Department of Public Safety helicopter. He also allegedly pointed the weapon at Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk, one of about 50 law officers who converged on Knapp near Ferron Reservoir.