- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - An inmate who was convicted in the 2010 beating death of a man he believed had stolen marijuana and cash from him escaped custody by walking away from an outing supervised by staff members of a Billings pre-release center, a state official said Wednesday.

Mikel Knick, 32, of Forsyth, an inmate worker at Alpha House, fled Tuesday while on a trip to Walmart to purchase supplies, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Judy Beck said.

Knick had been sentenced to 24 years in prison in April 2011 for negligent homicide in the death of 55-year-old Daniel Young.

Knick thought Young and another man had broken into his home and stolen drugs and money from a safe, court records said.

Knick said he went to Young’s apartment and punched him in the head, knocking him out. He said he splashed water in Young’s face, but he didn’t respond, so he turned him over so he would not choke on his own blood, court records said.

Authorities say Knick did not seek medical assistance for Young, who was found dead on Nov. 18, 2010.

Knick also was convicted of kidnapping after authorities said he held a woman at his home and threatened her with a baseball bat, believing that she had stolen marijuana.

Beck said Knick was transferred to Alpha House on July 1 and could not leave the facility without supervision. If he had completed 180 days in the facility, he could have been designated a resident who would have been allowed to work outside Alpha House.

When captured, Knick could face a felony escape charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, Beck said.

Knick is 6 feet tall, 230 pounds, bald with blue eyes. He has numerous tattoos including the word “sinner” on his neck.

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