Tunnelton man gets five years probation for burglary, assault

KINGWOOD — A Tunnelton man was sentenced to three to 26 years in prison Wednesday, but the charges were suspended for five years probation instead.

Under a plea agreement Andrew Thomas Knotts, 30, pleaded guilty to felony burglary, felony malicious assault and misdemeanor battery. Charges of breaking and entering, burglary, domestic battery and two counts of destruction of property were dismissed.

According to the criminal complaint in the case, witnesses to the 2017 incidents leading to the charges said Knotts tried to run a woman over with a car, beat an elderly man, threatened to kill a woman and dogs, destroyed the woman’s phone when she tried to call 911 and other crimes.

The sentence for burglary is one-to-15 years, malicious assault two-to-10 years, and one year or $500 or both for battery. Preston Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Megan Allender said the plea agreement was offered based on the wishes of the victims.

“The victims and KAMP Ambulance don’t want a statement made on their behalf. I believe all of the victims would speak on behalf of the defendant,” she said.

Beth Wininger, a manager where Knotts works, said he is a valuable asset to the company.

“I’ve never seen him show any signs of anger. He handles his job with the utmost respect,” she said. When asked by Preston Circuit Judge Steve Shaffer if she would feel the same way if her daughter or her parents were the victims, she said, “not in the heat of the moment, but I would come around to the same conclusion.”

Shaffer said he was concerned about Knotts’ alcoholism and drug use.

“This court has taken a strong stand against drugs,” Shaffer said. “You said you were taking Subutex. The court sees this as a legal illegal drug.” He ordered to Knotts to seek treatment for substance abuse and to pay court costs and restitution if any was sought by the victims.

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