by Ivan Foley
A man accused in a springtime sexual assault in Platte City has a court appearance set Jan. 21 in front of Platte County Circuit Court Judge James VanAmburg.
James D. Knight, 66, who lists an Alabama address, is charged with three felonies in connection with a sexual assault of a woman he had met at the Pool Hall in downtown Platte City. Knight is charged with sodomy, assault, and burglary of a Platte City woman, age in her mid-50’s, at her home in Platte City.
The alleged incident occurred the night of Saturday, April 12 into the early hours of Sunday, April 13. Knight was eventually arrested after an investigation aided by tracking a cell phone number he had used to text the alleged victim days after the incident. He was arrested at an apartment in Johnson County, Kan.
Platte City police told The Landmark they believe Knight is familiar with the Platte City area because he previously was a contractor at the Iatan power plant.
After his initial arrest, Knight was being held on $100,000 cash-only bond. Judge Quint Shafer, over the objection of prosecutors, lowered Knight’s bond to allow a 10 percent cash option, allowing Knight to bond out for $10,000.
As a condition of his bond, Knight is to have no contact with the alleged victim.
The case advanced from associate circuit court to circuit court in September and assigned to VanAmburg in Division II.
Court records indicate Knight is represented by Mark Gilmore, an attorney with an Independence address. According to court documents, at a Nov. 19 court appearance Knight appeared with attorney Jeremy Webb and requested a continuance, which was granted. That’s when his next court hearing was scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21 at 9 a.m.
The burglary charge, according to documents, relates to Knight allegedly “remaining unlawfully in an inhabitable structure for the purpose of committing sodomy therein.”
According to court documents, the victim 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 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.