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Troy James Knapp: Utah 'Mountain Man' sentenced to federal prison

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After eluding authorities and being on the run for seven years, Utah “Mountain Man” Troy James Knapp, 46, wanted for a myriad of weapons and burglary charges, was captured in the snow covered mountains of Utah in April 2013. His transgressions against the law included taking a few shots at agents before finally surrendering to authorities. Knapp appeared in U.S. District Court in St. George, Utah on June 9 and accepted a “package of plea deals” covering those charges which spanned seven counties across Utah.

On June 9, Newsday reported that Knapp was sentenced to 10 years and six months in federal prison. As part of those plea deals, Knapp pleaded guilty to 10 felony burglary counts on state charges, “with each state conviction drawing a sentence of one to 15 years and a $10,000 fine.” The court will allow his prison terms to run concurrently. And all those $10,000 fines will be waived. The 14 months Knapp has already spent in jail since April 2013 will be credited against his sentence.

For years, he lived a solitary life amid the expansive wilderness of Utah as he ransacked cabins and trekked hundreds of miles alone on his snowshoes with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

For most of the next decade, he'll live behind bars in a federal penitentiary.

Knapp’s antics grew to urban legend proportion in Utah over the years as he traversed the mountains, ransacked cabins, and stole whiskey, guns and whatever supplies he could drag or carry. The judge actually told him at his sentencing that he should spend his decade’s incarceration writing a book. When Knapp was asked if he had anything to say, the mountainman just said "No, thank you."

After years of being unable to catch him, authorities finally closed in on Knapp around Easter 2013 by using some of his own tactics. After tracking him by snowshoes for three days, dozens of officers converged on him in snowmobiles and a snowcat, flushing him out of the cabin. He fired several shots at officers and a helicopter, and tried to flee on snowshoes before being caught.

CBS News reported that Knapp first came under police radar when authorities in Utah began investigating a string of burglarized cabins in southern and central Utah. Those burglaries went on for seven years. In 2012 authorities finally identified Knapp through “cabin surveillance photos and fingerprints on a Jim Beam whiskey bottle.”

In the dead of Utah’s winters, the mountain man would hole up in any one of the mountains’ snowbound cabins. With the arrival of spring and summer, Knapp would trek deep into the Utah wilderness loaded with “a supply of guns, dehydrated food, radios, batteries and high-end camping gear.”

Sometimes, he’d leave notes behind in the cabins he burglarized. He actually signed the log book at one cabin and left his name as "Troy James the red head." For more on Knapp's story, see the video accompanying this article.

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