EAST MACHIAS, Maine — The man known as the North Pond Hermit served seven months in jail on multiple counts of burglary and theft, graduated from the mental health court and paid nearly $1,900 in restitution to his victims.
But, Christopher Knight, 50, has refused to pay $1,125 to the Maine State Police for costs related to the removal of a road that had to be built so investigators could reach Knight’s campsite in the woods, where he reportedly lived for more than two decades.
Knight’s appeal is one of three cases the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will consider Thursday morning when it convenes at Washington Academy in East Machias. Later in the day, the justices will be in Machias where at 1:30 p.m. they will participate in a dedication ceremony for the recently expanded and renovated Washington County Courthouse.
Knight, who is now on probation, will not attend the arguments. Where he is living and working has not been made public.
Augusta attorney Walter McKee argued in his brief that “restitution is only allowed for true ‘economic loss.’ The alleged ‘victim’ is not anyone involved in Knight’s offenses but was the state police and the creation of a road or repair was unrelated to Knight’s burglary and theft conviction.”
McKee, who will argue before the justices, said in his brief that Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills should not have used the environmental cleanup law to make Knight pay restitution.
Emily Collins, assistant district attorney for Kennebec County, disagreed in her brief.
“The need for the environmental cleanup was a direct result of Mr. Knight’s criminal conduct and resulting convictions,” she said. “Mr. Knight’s offenses were in fact, the cause of the costs incurred.”
Knight was arrested on April 13, 2013, in Rome while leaving the Pine Tree Camp with a number of food items, according to a previously published report.
He 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. Knight pleaded guilty in October 2013 to 13 counts of burglary and theft.
The justices will consider two other appeals Thursday at Washington Academy.
Brothers Kevin Carton, 30, and Micah Carton, 28, of New Limerick, have challenged the circumstances under which the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency searched a camp in Amity in November 2013 where they were staying. The brothers admitted to using a one-pot method to make methamphetamine at the camp but reserved their rights to appeal.
The third appeal stems from a civil case that resulted from an Oct. 3, 2011, fire that destroyed a Medway business. Richard Day, owner of Day’s Auto Body, sued the town and the business, Emery Lee and Sons Inc., from which the town rented an excavator, alleging both were negligent in fighting the fire. Day has claimed in his appeal that some of the equipment at the business could have been saved except for the actions taken by firefighters and the operator of the excavator.
An attorney for the town claims Superior Court Justice William Anderson properly granted summary judgment to Medway because it, and by extension, Emery Lee and Sons were immune from the lawsuit.
Oral arguments in the appeals will be live streamed beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday at the court system’s website, courts.maine.gov.