Utah mountain fugitive set to take plea deal

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A wilderness fugitive accused of burglarizing remote cabins across Utah is scheduled to take a plea deal in early April on federal firearm charges.

Troy James Knapp, 46, is set to be in a federal court in St. George, Utah on April 7 for a change of plea hearing, court records show. The terms of the agreement are not disclosed, and federal prosecutors say no plea deal is finalized.

Knapp pleaded not guilty to the firearm charges in October.

Knapp, known as the “Mountain Man,” is accused shooting at a Utah Highway Patrol helicopter and aiming an assault rifle at other officers before surrendering in April 2013.

He is also charged with 39 burglary-related crimes in six Utah counties: Beaver, Emery, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Sanpete.

The new hearing was first reported by FOX affiliate KSTU in Salt Lake City.

Authorities say Knapp, on parole after a California burglary conviction, went on the run in 2004 and lived in and ransacked remote cabins across Utah. He eluded police for years while stealing guns, whiskey and supplies.

Federal prosecutors stepped in and took the lead on the case in mid-September, postponing a plea hearing in Sanpete County. Sanpete County prosecutor Brody Keisel said he had been trying to negotiate a single plea deal on all state and possible federal charges but gave up after Knapp refused to cooperate.

The charges from six Utah counties go back to 2009, but authorities believe Knapp was breaking into cabins for several years before that.

He carried a heavy backpack and often used snow shoes as he trekked through Utah’s mountains. His legend grew when police released a cabin surveillance photo of him, in the snow shoes with a rifle slung over his shoulder, in December 2011.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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