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Text message leads to arrest
in sexual assault
Woman reports being attacked
at her home in Platte City


by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A 66-year-old man who lists an Alabama address faces three felony charges in connection to an alleged assault against a Platte City woman.

James D. Knight was arrested in Johnson County, Kan. this week after an investigation aided by tracking a cell phone number, authorities said.

Overland Park officers, accompanied by two members of the Platte City Police Department, arrested Knight when he returned to his apartment Monday evening.

At Landmark deadline, Knight was in custody in the Johnson County Jail awaiting extradition. (Story update Wednesday afternoon: Knight is now in the Platte County Jail, see mug shot).

He is being held on $100,000 cash-only bond.

Knight is charged with felony counts of sodomy, assault, and burglary in the incident. The burglary charge, according to documents, relates to Knight allegedly “remaining unlawfully in an inhabitable structure for the purpose of committing sodomy therein.”

The incident occurred the night of Saturday, April 12 into the early hours of Sunday, April 13.

According to court documents, the victim, described by authorities as being in her mid-50’s, was accompanied by friends to the Pool Hall on Main Street. The woman says while there a white male she described as 50-60 years old and 5’5” or shorter with dark gray hair and a beard approached her and they had a conversation. The man identified himself only as Fred.

The woman said she learned from their conversation the man resided in the Overland Park area. She said she decided to go home and drove to her residence on Fourth Street. She told authorities that after parking her car in her garage and stepping out of the vehicle, she realized the man was standing in the garage.

She told police she did not feel threatened by the man at that time and allowed him to follow her into the house.

She told police that once inside, the man hit her and choked her, dragged her to the bedroom, pulled off her clothing and attempted to sodomize her. She told police the man choked her by putting his arm across her throat while punching her in the vaginal area with his other hand. She told police she was able to scratch the man’s male parts with her nails to make him stop, adding that she was able to force him out the front door and lock it.

Court documents describe the alleged crimes as occurring between 11:30 p.m. April 12 and 1:44 a.m. April 13.

According to court documents, the woman reported the incident to Platte City police at about 6:25 p.m. April 13.

A break in the investigation occurred last Friday, April 17 when the victim reported receiving a text message that read “Still mad at me Fred.”

She told police she did not recognize the number but because he used the name Fred she believed it was from the person who had attacked her.

Authorities obtained a warrant for records associated with that phone number. Records showed the number associated with James D. Knight of Hillsboro, Alabama.

A copy of the James D. Knight Alabama driver’s license picture was placed in a photo lineup and the woman identified Knight as being the person who had attacked her.

According to court documents, three other people present in the Pool Hall the night of the incident also viewed the photo lineup and identified Knight as being in the Pool Hall that night. Two of them identified Knight as having left with or followed the woman out of the Pool Hall when she left.

Lt. Al Devalkenaere with the Platte City Police Department told The Landmark that police believe Knight is familiar with the Platte City area because he previously was a contractor at the Iatan power plant.

Devalkenaere praised computer analysts from the Platte County Sheriff’s Department for assisting with the investigation. He also praised Kansas authorities for their assistance.