North Pond Hermit out of jail, doing well in alternative program, DA says

Christopher Knight sits in court with his attorney Walter McKee during his plea agreement at Kennebec Superior Court on Monday in Augusta.
Kevin Bennett
Christopher Knight sits in court with his attorney Walter McKee during his plea agreement at Kennebec Superior Court on Monday in Augusta.
Posted Nov. 22, 2013, at 1:20 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 22, 2013, at 2:47 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Christopher Knight has been released from jail.

Knight, 47, also known as the North Pond Hermit, was released from Kennebec County Jail in Augusta on Nov. 4, after he completed a seven-month jail sentence as part of a plea agreement. Knight pleaded guilty to 13 counts of burglary and theft in October, Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said on Friday.

As part of the plea agreement, Knight was accepted into the Co-Occurring Disorders Court, a special court program aimed at helping people with mental health and substance abuse problems. Knight’s attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, previously said Knight has had alcohol and mental health issues.

Since being released, Knight has attended two court hearings on Nov. 12 and 18 as part of his alternative sentence. He has also met with case workers and counselors. Bail checks have also been performed at his home, Maloney said.

Maloney said she could not say where Knight is living or how he is doing, as it is confidential information. The court hearings are also closed to the public.

“Only if he graduated from the program or if there’s a problem” with Knight complying with the program would information be public, she said. “As long as there’s no public hearing, he’s doing everything he’s being asked to do. Hopefully the only public hearing that’s necessary is the one when he graduates.”

The Co-Occurring Disorders Court requires that Knight go to counseling every week. He must not use or possess illegal drugs or alcohol. He must work, volunteer or go to school full time. It typically takes two to three years to graduate from the court. If a member is not successful, the consequence is an automatic state prison sentence, Maloney previously said.

He was arrested on April 4 in Rome while leaving the Pine Tree Camp with a number of food items.

Knight admitted to committing more than 1,000 burglaries in the North Pond area over the course of the 27 years he spent living in the woods. The legal statute of limitations had run out on the vast majority of them, which is why he faced relatively few charges.

Maloney previously said the length of jail time Knight may yet serve depends on whether he obeys the rules of the Co-Occurring Disorders Court. If he does not obey the rules, his sentence could be up to seven years behind bars.

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