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Maine man who lived 27 years as hermit out of jail

Created: 11/22/2013 12:05 PM

(AP) AUGUSTA, Maine - A Maine man who lived in the woods for nearly three decades before being arrested earlier this year on theft and burglary charges is out of jail, officials said Friday.

Christopher Knight, 47, was released earlier this month after serving about 7 months at Kennebec County Jail, a records officer said.

Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of burglary and theft and was admitted into a special court program last month that allows him to live in the community under court supervision, work closely with a case worker and receive counseling.

Maeghan Maloney, the district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the program will provide Knight with the resources he need to turn his life around, unlike a regular prison sentence.

"I decided that a state prison sentence, where he is released ... and then under the supervision of a probation officer who has hundreds of people on his or her case load, was not going to enable him to become a successful member of the community."

Knight may have committed as many as 1,000 burglaries for food, clothing, camping and cooking gear from homes and camps while living in the woods of the central Maine town of Rome for 27 years before his arrest in April, police have said.

Attempts to reach Knight’s family on Friday were unsuccessful. His lawyer, Walt McKee, said he hasn’t been in contact with Knight since his release.

Maloney said she cannot release any details specific to Knight’s participation in the program, such as whether he’s found a job or where he’s living.

Knight must successfully complete the program, which can take up to three years. If he does not follow guidelines, including regular drug testing and a nightly curfew, he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

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Follow Alanna Durkin on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aedurkin

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