Knapp, 34, was found guilty on counts of second-degree assault causing serious bodily injury, menacing, illegal discharge of a firearm, criminal mischief, third-degree assault, reckless endangerment and use of a firearm under the influence and harassment. He was found not guilty of stalking, two other counts of third-degree assault, two counts of child abuse and unlawful sexual contact.
The trial started Monday in Montezuma District Court with Judge Todd Plewe presiding. On Friday, the 13-member jury of nine women and four men deliberated for about three hours before returning a verdict just after 5:30 p.m. Knapp’s sentencing hearing will be March 2 at 1:30 p.m. in district court.
A March 29, 2016, report from Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brian Harrison alleged that Knapp “continuously assaulted” a 32-year-old woman for hours on the evening of March 28 at her home south of Dolores. The alleged victim told officers Knapp struck her with a camouflage long gun and a broken towel rod, according to the report.
The alleged victim was transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital, complaining of pain to her back, legs and ribs, the report states. The house was in disarray when officers responded to the scene, according to the report.
On March 28, Knapp was upset with the alleged victim because he thought she was talking to an ex-boyfriend, she told Harrison in the report. He was tracking her phone, following her around town and calling her incessantly, according to the report.
About 6:30 p.m., the alleged victim began driving back to her home with her son and daughter, she told Harrison. She noticed Knapp driving toward her, and he made her pull over and then approached her truck, the report alleges.
Knapp then broke the driver’s side window and pulled the alleged victim out of the truck, she told Harrison in the report. He then made her drive back to the house where he allegedly continued to physically assault her and verbally abuse her children, according to the report. He continued to assault the alleged victim from the time he stopped her on the road to about 11 p.m., when he fell asleep, she told Harrison in the report.
In opening statements Wednesday, District Attorney Will Furse said it was not a case of “he said, she said.” He said there were documented threats from Knapp to the alleged victim, and that his jealousy led to the alleged assault.
“He is guilty of every one of the charges,” Furse said.
In her opening statement, Knapp’s attorney Katie Whitney said March 28 was a bad day for Knapp and the alleged victim, who were in a relationship that had run its course.
Whitney challenged the jury to think deeper, saying the prosecution’s theory was based solely on the alleged victim’s story. Whitney said the story contained inconsistencies and had been spun to fit the evidence presented.
“When the puzzle pieces fit a little too easily, folks, you should question that,” she told the jury. “You need to dig deeper than an accusation.”
The alleged victim was emotional as she testified Wednesday for more than two hours. She said Knapp hit her multiple times with his hands, the long gun and the broken towel rod, questioning her about her ex-boyfriend.
“It was chaotic,” she said.
She also said Knapp put a vibrator down her throat and touched her sexually without her consent.
Knapp testified for about three hours on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. He denied hitting, kicking or biting the alleged victim. He said he never hit her with a gun or a towel rod. He denied unlawful sexual contact.
Knapp also denied breaking the window in the alleged victim’s truck. He said he walked up to her truck to try and talk to her while she was parked on a street in the subdivision near her residence. He said as he was walking around the front of the truck, she accelerated rapidly, hitting him and forcing him onto the hood of the truck. He said he had injuries to his hands, back and head but did not seek medical attention.
Knapp testified that he and the alleged victim returned to the house and talked for about two hours. He said he was upset earlier in the day because he thought the alleged victim was talking to an ex-boyfriend. He was drinking during the afternoon, and he broke vase and a glass bottle in the house, according to his testimony.
In his closing statement Friday, Furse called Knapp’s account of getting hit by the truck a “wild story.”
“The defendant’s narrative does not make sense, it defies logic and most importantly, it is not reasonable,” Furse said.
Furse said Knapp had confessed to a number of the alleged crimes, including that he used an iPhone app to track her location – felony stalking, according to prosecutors.
Knapp also testified that he broke the alleged victim’s nose, but later said he did not know how it got broken. Furse said that was a confession to the second-degree assault charge, and that a broken nose was a serious bodily injury.
Whitney questioned the alleged victim’s credibility in her closing statement. The alleged victim left certain details out of her story, Whitney said.
“The doubt in this case is abundant,” she told the jury.
Whitney said the charge of unlawful sexual contact seemed like an “afterthought” that was added later to embellish the alleged victim’s story. She said law enforcement officials and prosecutors took the alleged victim’s story at face value, and the prosecution had not demonstrated burden of proof. Knapp acted in self-defense after the alleged victim struck him with her truck, she said.
Furse told the jury that Knapp was not a victim. The woman had nothing to gain from a guilty verdict, and she would not be motivated to be dishonest.
Furse rejected Whitney’s claim that the alleged victim’s story was untrue, referencing her tearful testimony.
“Those emotions were real,” he said.